Scott Frost sucks. I said it.
In case you did not know, college football began this weekend. This week wasn’t packed full of great games, but the one game that was relatively interesting was Nebraska and Illinois. Illinois pulled this game off 30-22 and they looked solid on both sides of the ball. With their new coach, Bret Bielema, it would be interesting to see the change for Bielema after not being a head football coach since his last season at Arkansas in 2017.
The game did not look good with starting quarterback Brandon Peters went down with a shoulder injury and backup QB Artur Sitkowski came in to replace him. Sitkowski is best known for throwing 4 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in his 2018 season at Rutgers. He actually ended up performing well going 12 for 15 with 124 yards and 2 touchdowns.
While it was a very solid start for the Fighting Illini, the main takeaway from this game is that Nebraska is underperforming again under Scott Frost. I would not say Frost was on the hot seat coming into the season, but it is getting warmer. After his undefeated 13-0 season at the University of Central Florida, everything looked up for coach Frost. Since that undefeated season, Frost has gone 12-21 at Nebraska with zero bowl games and zero winning seasons. With this sloppy performance, I can imagine Nebraska is already seeking a new head coach for next season.
Nebraska started off the game giving up a safety on a play I can not explain over text. I encourage you to google “Nebraska punt fail” to see what I mean. They did manage to get off to a 9-2 lead and recover a tad, but the Illini fired back with 2 touchdowns, including a 41-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the last minute of the first half. They never looked back.
Illinois would score in the second half and manage to fight off a half hearted comeback by Nebraska.
The big winner from this game is Bret Bielema. After a rough ride at Arkansas it looked like Bielema might never be a head coach again. He spent two years under Bill Belichick with the Patriots in 2018 and 2019 as a consultant and defensive line coach. He also spent a year with the Giants as a outside linebackers coach.
Bielema has nothing to lose at Illinois since Lovie Smith drove and average program into the ground. Smith went 17-39 in 5 seasons at Illinois (fired after seven games in 2020). Bielema has a chance to be a good college football coach once again. A conference win in your first game is a fantastic way to start your coaching career at Illinois.