November 22, 2014

Pelini says Abdullah will be ready for Wisconsin

There will be a collective sigh of relief around Husker Nation after Bo Pelini delivers his news that Ameer Abdullah will be ready to go against Wisconsin.

Pelini said the Heisman hopeful is “doing great” and that the MCL sprain is not as bad as first feared.  Abdullah left NU’s 35-14 win over Purdue in the first quarter after just six carries for 1 yard. Pelini is confident about Ameer’s availability against Wisconsin on Nov. 15.

“I would anticipate he’ll be back at 100 percent (for Wisconsin),” the coach said. “That is my anticipation right now. That’s my guess of where things stand right now. That could always change.”

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Abdullah hauls in more awards and Pelini talks intensity (AUDIO)

Bo Pelini looking for intensity for a full 60 minutes.

Bo Pelini looking for intensity for a full 60 minutes.

In addition to being named Big Ten offensive player of the week, NU’s Ameer Abdullah was also named the Athlon Sports National Player of the Week, the College Football Performance Awards National All-Purpose Performer of the Week and he was named to the Paul Hornung Award Week Nine Honor Roll.  He has 4,226 career rushing yards and he’s less than 560 yards from passing Mike Rozier’s school record and his 6,604 all purpose yards ranks second in Big Ten history only behind Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne.

On my Big Red Report yesterday, which you can hear on most of our Nebraska Radio Network Stations, I said it has to be tough to be mentally sharp in a game in the fourth quarter when you’re up by more than three scores, but for football players and coaches, Bo Pelini wants to see perfection the whole and that’s what he wasn’t too pleased with after the Rutgers win.

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This will be Purdue’s first trip ever to Lincoln and third time playing the Huskers. The series is tied at 1-1.  Purdue has scored 30 points in three straight games, first time they’ve done that since 2009.

Illinois’ upset win over Minnesota tightens up Big Ten West race (AUDIO)

It was quiet week in the Big Ten with several schools on their bye week, but an interesting one nonetheless as it pertains to the division race in the West. The Huskers got a lot of help from Illinois with their upset 28-24 win at Minnesota. The Illini defense scored a late touchdown and had a defensive stand. The loss drops the Gophers to 3-1 in conference play and now in a tying with the Huskers. Wisconsin scored an easy 52-7 win over Maryland. The Badgers Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon rushed for 122 and three touchdowns.

The game next week against Purdue is at 2:15. Then, what a way to finish out the season, with three games against West rivals who are all breathing down the back of the Huskers. Two weeks after the Purdue game, NU travels to face Gordon and the Badgers who are 2-1 in conference play, then at home against Minnesota, Gophers and Huskers tied for first right now and then the season ends the day after Thanksgiving with Iowa hoping to be in the mix as well…they’re at 2-1 in Big Ten play.

So when you look at the schedule you see why Bo Pelini is pushing for perfection. A long way to go to clinching that Big Ten championship berth.

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Huskers may really need to have Randy Gregory make an IMPACT this week (AUDIO)

Randy Gregory (photo/lottimpacttrophy.org)

Randy Gregory (photo/lottimpacttrophy.org)

If there was ever a week for Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory to make an impact, Rutgers would be the team to do it against. As defensive coordinator John Papuchis likes to point out the Scarlet Knights don’t mind going toe to toe with you in an old-fashioned grind it out type of game.

Gregory is one of 20 defensive players around the country named a quarterfinalists for the 2014 Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, presented to the nation’s most impactful defensive player. Gregory has 28 total tackles, including six tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Gregory also has an interception, a fumble caused, two pass breakups and a team-high nine quarterback hurries.

Gregory is one of two defenders from the Big Ten on the list, joining Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Gregory and Calhoun are among six defensive ends on the Lott quarterfinalists list.

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Armstrong doesn’t throw any touchdowns, but comes up big on third down plays

The first three meetings between Nebraska and Northwestern were all close and after the first half it looked like it would come down to the end again, but the Huskers scored 24 unanswered points in the second half for 38-17 win.   Bo Pelini was happy with the finish.

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. completed 18-of-29 passes for 221 yards. He did not throw an interception or a touchdown pass, but he made a couple of big third down completions.  He was 5 of 6 passing on third down in the second half, able to convert and sustain drives.  He did haul in his first career touchdown catch, a 16-yard reception from freshman wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El after a reverse handoff from Abdullah.

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