Abdullah’s big day propels Huskers past Rutgers

Lincoln, NE (SportsNetwork.com) – Ameer Abdullah ran for three touchdowns in a
record-setting performance, leading 16th-ranked Nebraska to a 42-24 victory
over Rutgers on Saturday.

Abdullah rushed for 225 yards on just 19 carries, caught two passes for 26
yards and added 90 yards on a pair of kickoff returns to finish with 341 all-
purpose yards. He set a Nebraska single-game mark, eclipsing Roy Helu’s
previous record of 321 in 2010.

Tommy Armstrong threw for a pair of scores and added another touchdown on the
ground for the Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten), who have won two straight after
a tough five-point loss at Michigan State.

Rutgers (5-3, 1-3) suffered its second straight blowout loss on the heels of
its first-ever conference win over Michigan. The Scarlet Knights dropped a
56-17 decision at Ohio State last week and will face another stiff test next
Saturday with a visit from Wisconsin.

Quarterback Gary Nova missed the second half for Rutgers after injuring his
right knee on a hit from Nebraska’s Maliek Collins late in the second quarter.
He threw for 156 yards with a touchdown and an interception before exiting the

The only meaningful offense for the Scarlet Knights came on two big plays. The
first was a 71-yard touchdown pass from Nova to Leonte Caroo on a broken play
late in the first quarter, and the second was backup quarterback Chris
Laviano’s 46-yard run early in the third that led to a 41-yard Kyle Federico
field goal.

After the Nova TD pass with 10 seconds left in the opening period, Abdullah
broke free twice for long scoring runs in the second quarter.

Abdullah made Rutgers defensive back Lorenzo Waters miss at the line of
scrimmage and found a big hole from there, rumbling 53 yards down the right
sideline for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead. Two plays after a Rutgers punt,
Abdullah found an opening on the left side and raced 48 yards to the end zone.

Armstrong was intercepted on Nebraska’s next offensive series and the only
other scoring threat in the half came with less then three minutes remaining
when Federico had a 50-yard field goal attempt blocked.

Nebraska extended its lead less than three minutes into the third quarter when
Armstrong found Sam Cotton with an 8-yard touchdown pass. Abdullah ignited the
72-yard set with a 49-yard run on the first play after the kickoff.

Laviano’s big run then set up the Federico field goal that pulled Rutgers
within 28-10, but a 76-yard kickoff return by Abdullah gave Nebraska a short
field and Armstrong finished the five-play series with a 4-yard scoring strike
to Jordan Westerkamp.

An Armstrong fumble deep in Nebraska territory allowed Rutgers to move 21
yards in four plays for another touchdown, as Desmon Peoples scored on a 3-
yard run.

However, a 23-yard touchdown run by Abdullah midway through the fourth gave
the Huskers a 42-17 cushion and the Scarlet Knights added a score on Robert
Martin’s 4-yard run just under three minutes later for the final margin.

Abdullah posted his fourth 200-yard rushing game of the season, matching Mike
Rozier’s school record from his Heisman Trophy season of 1983. It was only his
third-highest total of the year, however, as he posted 232 yards against
Florida Atlantic and 229 against Miami-Florida.

In addition, Abdullah moved into second place in Big Ten history with 6,604
all-purpose yards, moving past Indiana’s Anthony Thompson and two-time Heisman
Trophy winner Archie Griffin of Ohio State. Only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne, with
7,429 yards, has more.

Rutgers’ first possession ended at the Nebraska 31 when Peoples was stuffed on
4th-and-1, and the Huskers went 69 yards the other way for the game’s first
touchdown, which Armstrong capped with a 16-yard run.

Nova was picked off a few plays after the ensuing kickoff, but Nebraska failed
to convert when Drew Brown missed a 42-yard field goal.

Game Notes

Abdullah’s 23 career 100-yard games trail only Rozier’s school record of 26.
He also now has 37 career rushing touchdowns, surpassing Tommie Frazier for
sole possession of fifth in school history … Nebraska wide receiver Kenny
Bell had six catches for 63 yards and now has 167 career receptions, eclipsing
Nate Swift’s previous school mark of 166 … Caroo finished with five catches
for 127 yards, posting his fourth 100-yard game of the season and the sixth of
his career … Nebraska and Rutgers met just once previously, a 28-0 Huskers
win in 1920 at the Polo Grounds in New York … The Huskers host Purdue next