Illinois surprises, UCLA rolls, Nebraska falls once more


School soccer is again. Did anybody inform Nebraska?

The 2021 season kicked off with a brief Week 0 slate of 5 video games that also managed to yield outcomes that will linger properly into the offseason.

For one, the Cornhuskers’ 30-22 loss at Illinois casts a severe cloud over fourth-year coach Scott Frost. On the flip aspect, Illinois is off to a smashing begin beneath new coach Bret Bielema.

Listed below are the winners and losers from the primary Saturday of the season:



In topping the Cornhuskers in back-to-back years for the primary time since 1923-24, Illinois put holes within the principle that Bielema’s first workforce would deliver up the rear within the Massive Ten. (Clearly, the brand new chief within the clubhouse for that honor belongs to Nebraska.) The indicators of a competently coached workforce have been apparent: Illinois took benefit of the Cornhuskers’ inevitable errors, ran the ball with function, received up entrance and overcame dropping beginning quarterback Brandon Peters early within the first quarter.

How does Saturday’s win change the projections for this yr’s workforce? There nonetheless are not any apparent wins exterior of Charlotte on Oct. 2, however the kind of efficiency put collectively in opposition to Nebraska bodes properly for Illinois’ odds in opposition to groups in the same stratosphere — corresponding to subsequent week’s opponent, Texas-San Antonio, and Massive Ten foes Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers and Northwestern.

Bret Bielema

The win can have a huge effect on Illinois’ confidence and breathe life into Bielema’s recruiting efforts. However is anybody actually stunned that he’d hit the bottom operating in his return to the Massive Ten? The previous Wisconsin coach all the time appeared like a great match for Illinois for numerous causes, from the teaching philosophies carried over from his time with the Badgers by means of his means to manifest the type of bodily mindset that has all the time performed properly within the convention.


A stylish choose to contend for the Pac-12 South division championship and take a giant step ahead beneath Chip Kelly, UCLA began sturdy with a 44-10 win in opposition to Hawaii. The Bruins burst out of the gate with a 24-point first quarter and would dominate the Rainbow Warriors on the bottom, operating for 244 yards and 4 touchdowns on 5.7 yards per carry. An uncomplicated offensive recreation plan makes it laborious to extrapolate an excessive amount of about what a 34-point win in opposition to a Mountain West opponent actually means in regards to the Bruins’ possibilities within the Pac-12, however we’ll know way more in per week: UCLA hosts LSU in Pasadena subsequent Saturday in among the finest video games in a loaded Week 1 slate.

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Chevan Cordeiro is pressured by Bo Calvert in the first half at the Rose Bowl. UCLA beat Hawaii 44-10.

Chevan Cordeiro is pressured by Bo Calvert within the first half on the Rose Bowl. UCLA beat Hawaii 44-10.



It simply retains getting worse for a program that’s twenty years faraway from final being a part of the nationwide dialog and now’s recognized way more for self-inflicted disasters than taking part in a task in deciding the Massive Ten championship. All of the predictable missteps have been evident in opposition to Illinois, together with a punt return leading to a security, a dropped landing go, a missed additional level, a roughing the passer penalty on an interception and a fumble returned by Illinois for a landing — and that was simply within the first half. Embarrassing? Completely. However predictably so.

Scott Frost

The Cornhuskers might reverse Saturday’s end result and get to 6 wins, which could be sufficient to regain among the momentum and promise that when outlined Frost’s tenure. How a lot you imagine in that will rely in your reply to this: Does a workforce that loses to Illinois — exhibiting the entire sloppiness and inconsistency you have come to anticipate — actually have what it takes to navigate a schedule that features Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa? And if the Cornhuskers fall in need of bowl eligibility, how does new athletics director Trev Alberts promote one other yr of the established order after one other dropping season?


After sitting out final season amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Huskies picked up the place they left off in 2019 with a 45-0 loss to Fresno State, this system’s thirty first defeat in 34 video games in opposition to Soccer Bowl Subdivision competitors since coach Randy Edsall’s return in 2017. In its first recreation as an FBS unbiased, UConn allowed 538 yards of offense and 25 first downs whereas gaining simply 107 yards on 1.7 yards per play.

Comply with faculties reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: School soccer winners and losers: Illinois, UCLA roll; UConn flops



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