There’s nothing like a Big Ten slugfest to kick-off the 2021 college football season. That’s exactly what fans were treated to when Nebraska took on Illinois in the Week 0 opener on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams got off to a slow start in the first quarter, but a crucial mistake by a Cornhuskers punt returner led to the first points of the 2021 season.
With just over four minutes to go in the first, Illinois set up to punt the ball back to Nebraska. A good kick from 2019 Big Ten Punter of the Year Blake Hayes sent return man Cam Taylor-Britt back towards his own endzone. The Cornhuskers cornerback continued to track the ball inside his own five before finally catching it on the two-yard line.
Then, disaster struck. Taylor-Britt slipped when trying to turn the ball upfield. While trying to regain his balance, his knee touched down on his own goal-line, resulting in a safety that gave Illinois an early 2-0 advantage.
Yes, you heard that right. The first points of the 2021 college football season came from a safety on a punt in a Big Ten game.
Oh noooooo 😬
After official review, the call on the field is confirmed and the first points of the season come on a safety! pic.twitter.com/DUgLifS2h0
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) August 28, 2021
Taylor-Britt certainly made a major mistake and will need to learn quickly from the error. The Cornhuskers returner easily could’ve let the ball go over his head and into the end zone for a touchback, which would’ve prevented the early deficit.
In fairness, it is Nebraska’s first game of the season and the safety came in the first quarter, so there’s plenty of time to make up for the blunder. However, with high expectations for the current year, Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers can’t afford to make crucial mistakes.
Nebraska bounced back quickly from the early safety and scored nine unanswered points to take the lead. Fans can tune-in to college football’s season opener on FOX.