Ameer Abdullah became the first FBS player to top 1,000 all-purpose yards during the first half against Illinois on Saturday night. But he’s done so, so much more than that.
The man who saved Nebraska’s season has rushed 20 times for 196 yards and three touchdowns as No. 21 Nebraska leads Illinois 31-14 at halftime. Read that again. 196 yards. Three touchdowns. Halftime.
There’s nothing at all fluky about Abdullah’s yardage, which has come mostly in chunks of seven, eight and nine yards. He has “only” four rushes of 20 yards or more, and most importantly has not recorded any negative plays to this point. He’s carried the Huskers thus far, which is good because he’s absolutely had to. Tommy Armstrong, Jr., hit Kenny Bell for a 63-yard touchdown pass to put Nebraska up 28-7 in the second quarter, but other than that throw he’s 2-of-9 for 40 yards with an interception. Abdullah’s backup Armani Cross has been Nebraska’s second-most productive player with 10 carries for 71 yards.
Reilly O’Toole garnered the start for the Illini, and played like a guy who didn’t start for the first four games of the season. He’s hit 7-of-13 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The touchdown came on a 58-yard 50/50 ball that Geronimo Allison happened to grab and take into the end zone.
Nate Gerry recorded a sack and a 54-yard interception return, setting up Abdullah’s third touchdown of the half.
Illinois will receive the ball to open the second half.