Individually, it was quite the homecoming for AJ Bush. Team-wise, though, it was less than memorable.
In Illinois’ game against Nebraska in Lincoln Saturday afternoon, Bush ran 187 yards and three touchdowns on his 25 carries. The yardage broke the Fighting Illini’s single-game rushing record for a quarterback, eclipsing the 174 put up by Juice Williams back in 2008.
Unfortunately for Bush, it didn’t help his team on the scoreboard as the Cornhuskers came away with a 54-35 win, NU’s third win in four games after starting the 2018 season 0-6.
Despite the loss, it was quite the statistical homecoming for Bush.
Bush was a three-star member of Nebraska’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 44 dual-threat quarterback in the country coming out of high school in Georgia. He also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Cincinnati and Kansas State.
After taking a redshirt his true freshman season, Bush didn’t see the field in 2015 for the Cornhuskers. In August of 2016, Bush decided to transfer from NU, ultimately winding up at Iowa Western Community College not long after. After one season at that JUCO, he transferred to Virginia Tech.
In five games last season, Bush completed seven of his 11 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies. He also ran the ball for 129 yards on 19 carries.
“Whenever you come back to a place you called home, it’s special, that was the case for AJ,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “AJ’s a good football player. You have an athletic quarterback like that, that can run the football, it’s tough on any defense. … AJ did an awful lot to put that many points on the board. We just came up a little short.”