CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — There was something about linebacker Ben Stille on Friday night. The
Nebraska redshirt freshman from Ashland, Neb., shined in the 28-6 victory against Illinois and earned quite a bit of praise
Nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg liked what he saw from the young linebacker against Illinois, and he sung his praises postgame.
“It’s awesome to see someone that young with that much potential shining that early,” Stoltenberg said.
Running back Tre Bryant — who didn’t travel due to injury — shared similar thoughts on Twitter.
When Stille took the field at outside linebacker against Rutgers, he was admittedly a little nervous. Six days later against
Illinois, he felt much better. His numbers showed it, too.
Stille finished the game with 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. He was a part of a defense that totaled 10
tackles for loss and 5 sacks overall.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Stille said Friday night. “I think that’s kind of over with.”
With the nerves gone, Stille shined for Nebraska against Illinois. His performance was so solid, in fact, that defensive
coordinator Bob Diaco beamed when asked about him.
“Yeah, isn’t that fun?” Diaco said. “Like we said a few weeks ago, it’s like, ‘OK, who is not participating that should?’
And it’s like, ‘Oh, Ben.’ Absolutely, he’s worked hard, he’s been nonstop in his effort and energy and preparation. So, we’re
One of Stille’s highlights Friday came on second-and-goal for the Fighting Illini at the Nebraska 3-yard line. With
what felt like an inevitable touchdown for Illinois, Stille burst forward toward quarterback Chayce Crouch, taking him down
for a 5-yard loss. Illinois had to settle for a field goal on that drive.
Later in the third quarter, Stille got to Crouch again. This time, he helped get the ball loose. While Nebraska didn’t
recover the fumble, the drive ended in a punt.
According to Diaco, some of Stille’s strengths are that he can set a strong edge and “he understands force
and alley defense as it relates to his positioning and the players around him.” Diaco also likes the energy and effort
Stille brings toward every play, which prompted another “it’s fun” comment from Diaco.
As for Stille, he’s becoming more comfortable in his role. He’s humble though, crediting his success mostly
to Diaco’s calls.
However, for every big play he makes on the field, Stille’s confidence grows a little more. With Nebraska needing
depth and impact players for teams like Wisconsin and Ohio State, Stille’s growth and confidence could not have come
at a better time for the Huskers.
“When you make plays, it reassures [you] that you can play at this level and you can be successful,” Stille