Lincoln, NE (SportsNetwork.com) – Ameer Abdullah ran for 208 yards and three
touchdowns to carry 21st-ranked Nebraska to a 45-14 rout of Illinois in the
Big Ten opener for both teams.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. completed 10-of-21 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown
and an interception for the Cornhuskers (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who got rushing
TDs from Imani Cross and Terrell Newby. Cross had 109 yards rushing, part of a
458-yard ground effort for the Cornhuskers.
It was the second strong showing on the ground for Abdullah. Last week, the
senior finished with 229 yards on a career-best 35 carries in a 41-31 win over
Kenny Bell caught five balls for 105 yards and a score in the win, during
which Nebraska piled up 624 yards.
Reilly O’Toole started in place of an injured Wes Lunt (leg) and completed 17-
of-38 throws for 261 yards with a score and three interceptions for Illinois
Abdullah ran 12 yards for a score to cap the game’s opening possession. He had
60 of the 75 yards during the march on the ground.
Josh Ferguson countered with a 41-yard TD run, and Illinois picked off
Armstrong later in the period, but Daniel Davie intercepted O’Toole to give
Nebraska the ball back.
The turnovers continued on the next possession as Cross fumbled the ball away,
but Illinois didn’t take advantage and Abdullah scored on an 8-yard run early
in the second to put Nebraska ahead for good.
Another O’Toole interception led to a 2-yard TD run for Abdullah, and
Armstrong connected with Bell for a 63-yard score for a 28-7 cushion.
Geronimo Allison had a 58-yard TD catch for Illinois later in the second, but
Drew Brown’s 29-yard field goal expanded the margin to 31-14 at halftime.
Cross had a four-yard TD run in the third and Newby a 6-yard scoring rush in
Nebraska holds a 9-2-1 edge in the series between the two schools … Nebraska
won for the 15th straight time in a night game at Memorial Stadium, and moved
to 41-5 all-time in home night contests … Abdullah has 3,810 career rushing
yards and trails only Ahman Green (3,880) and 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike
Rozier (4,780) on Nebraska’s all-time list.