Nebraska scored touchdowns on all three of its drives in the half.
The first came courtesy of De'Mornay Pierson-El. The senior caught a slant from Tanner Lee and took it 45 yards to give Nebraska the lead six minutes into the game. The second was on a 15-yard run by Devine Ozigbo.
Both drives were eight plays, the first was 88 yards, the second was 75.
The third drive of the night was the longest for NU. The Huskers marched 89 yards in nine plays with the points coming on a six-yard touchdown pass from Lee to senior tight end Tyler Hoppes with 1:23 to play in the second quarter.
Lee was 11-of-13 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the first half.
The Illini's only points came on a nine minute drive, ending with a 25-yard field goal.