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Illinois shredded Nebraska for 490 yards.

It scored more than 40 points in a conference road game for the first time since 2015, points 39, 40 and 41 coming on the leg of James McCourt with 10 minutes, 14 seconds, remaining in the game.

But Illinois wasn't done toying with the Huskers.

"Good game Nebraska. Thanks for bringing back B1G football," the official Illinois Athletics account tweeted after the Illini rocked the Huskers 41-23 on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Many people consider Nebraska instrumental in restoring a Big Ten football season after the league postponed in August. 

Illinois' account later deleted the tweet.

After starting the season 0-3, Illinois was celebrating a second straight victory and its first in Lincoln since 1924, when a guy named Red Grange was playing.

Illinois certainly remembered last year's game, when the Huskers recovered from a 14-point, second-half deficit to trip up the Illini in Champaign. It served as motivation during what coach Lovie Smith called a great week of practice.

"This was a game the guys have been waiting a long time for," Smith said.



"We played Nebraska well last year, and I thought we had our opportunities to win, so we thought we matched up very well. When you practice that way and we felt like we had a good game plan coming in, why not?"

Illinois talked a little smack on Twitter after the game. According to Illinois players, Nebraska was chirping quite a bit during the game.

That provoked Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters to point toward the scoreboard when approached by a Husker defender during the game.

"I definitely have a cool, calm attitude, but I'm also competitive and I want to win," Peters said. "Maybe just the heat of the moment."

Added Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen, "I think it definitely motivates us, taking what they say and continuing to let it fuel our fire."

Illinois gained some momentum after a 23-20 win at Rutgers last week. It received another boost with the return of Peters, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked only once.

Peters had missed the previous three games after testing positive for COVID-19 after the season opener.

"Obviously, the last three weeks, it's been tough," Peters said. "This week during practice I thought I had a good week of preparation. I was in tune with what the defense was doing. When I was out there, I wasn't trying to force anything; I was just taking what the defense gave me."

Illinois also had two 100-yard rushers in Mike Epstein (113) and Chase Brown (110), and it forced five turnovers, two more than its goal for each game.

Smith was asked if this was Illinois' best game since he arrived in 2016.

"I would say so," he said. "All three phases, going on the road, tough place. It would have to be right up there for sure."

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Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.