The Nebraska Cornhuskers did not get off to the start they had hoped for on Saturday afternoon against Illinois. On the first play of the game, Nebraska quarterback
The ball fell to the ground incomplete, but was ruled a fumble on the field by the officials and recovered by Illinois. The ruling was a backward pass, but the play was not reviewed even though it appeared to be very borderline between being a forward or a backward pass.
Rules official Mike Pereira joined the broadcast and explained that a backward pass has to be determined based on where the ball leaves the quarterback’s hand and where the ball hits the ground. In Pereira’s estimation, the pass was forward, which would have resulted in an illegal forward pass as McCaffrey was beyond the line of scrimmage when he released the ball.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 21, 2020
After the fumble recovery, Illinois punched it in for a score just three plays later to put up the first points in the ballgame.
Nebraska enters today’s contest at 1-2 on the season, with losses to Ohio State and Northwestern and a win over Penn State last weekend. Illinois is 1-3 so far, starting the season with three straight losses to Wisconsin, Purdue and Minnesota and a win over Rutgers last weekend.