LINCOLN, Neb. (WCIA) — The other Memorial Stadium in the Big Ten West sits eerily empty this season. Nebraska normally packs in its fans into the 85,458 seat venue, with a record 375 straight sell outs, the longest streak in any collegiate sport. It’s a date Husker fans know well, November 3, 1962, and yet here we are in 2020 with no public ticket sales for games this season. What’s normally a sea of red will simply be empty seats on Saturday morning when the Illini face the Huskers.
“It’s not kinda weird, it’s really weird playing a game in like a practice setting,” Illinois sophomore receiver Casey Washington said. “At this point you’re just focusing on the game so much that the stadium’s empty but you got to compete.”
The Illini don’t have much luck playing in Lincoln. The last time they won a game at Nebraska was back in 1924 when Red Grange was on the field. Under head coach Lovie Smith the Illini are 0-4 overall, and that includes last year’s loss in Champaign when the Huskers put up three unanswered touchdowns and 674 offensive yards to win. With both the Huskers and the Illini coming off their first win of the season, the Illini are hoping to turn things around ahead of Ohio State coming to town next week.
“As I see it we’re just getting to the heart of our season right now, and we have an opportunity to put two wins together back-to-back,” Smith said. “Nebraska beat a Penn State team that was really searching for a win, so we’ll need to play our best ball, and clean up a lot of mistakes that we still made this past week.”
“We won last week which is great, it’s one week, and you just got to move on, and keep pushing,” Illinois center Doug Kramer said. “It’s the big ten conference so every week is going to be tough.”