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Pipeline youth shows promise

Nebraska running back Devine Ozigbo (22) rushes through a hole created by the Huskers offensive line, Sept. 23, 2017, in a game against Rutgers (KHGI)

LINCOLN --- Saturday at Rutgers wasn't Nebraska's best offensive performance of the season in an otherwise less than exciting year.

Nebraska's offense is averaging 378.5 yards per game, good for 90th in the FBS through the first four games.

But 197 yards rushing, the second highest total of the year, and no sacks allowed for the first time in four outings offers promise from the guys up front.

"Mikale (Wilbon) saved us on a couple of protections, but I think (we're) continuing to lessen the hits on the quarterback," said Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf. "We didn't give up any sacks, but (Tanner Lee) did take some hits. We will continue to make sure we keep the quarterback as clean as possible in the pocket and give up the fewest hits possible."

Brendan Jaimes was Nebraska's first starting true freshman offensive lineman since 2011 and the fifth all–time.

"I thought the freshmen went in there and played very well," Langsdorf said. "We ran the ball consistently and for the most part we were good in protection.

"The fact that we were able to protect pretty well and run the ball effectively is encouraging."

Expect more from the running back committee Friday night. Illinois is giving up 184.3 yards per game, 96th of all defenses and second to worst in the Big Ten.

The short week comes to a head at 7 p.m. in Champaign, Ill.

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