If there was any notion that Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah would be slowing down this week against Illinois, it was put to bed quickly in the opening minutes.
A week after a 35-carry, 225 yard effort against Miami, Abdullah hasn’t let up as the Huskers lead Illinois 31-14 at halftime in Lincoln. Abdullah heads into the break with 20 carries for 196 yards and three touchdowns as the Huskers have run roughshod through and around the Illini defense. As a team, Nebraska has run for 288 yards as Imani Cross has 10 carries for 71 yards to lead an overpowering offensive display.
Abdullah wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, scoring from 12 yards out on Nebraska’s opening drive. Illinois would counter however, as Josh Ferguson scored on a 41-yard run just 1:03 after Abdullah’s score to tie the game at 7-7. Tommy Armstrong would throw an interception and Cross fumbled, but Illinois was unable to take advantage and Nebraska made them pay with Abdullah’s 8-yard touchdown run just moments into the second quarter. Armstrong would make amends by completing a 63-yard touchdown pass later in the second quarter to Kenny Bell after another Abdullah touchdown run, while Drew Brown tacked on a 29-yard field goal to give the Huskers a 31-14 lead.
The 19th ranked Huskers are facing Illinois’ second-string quarterback, as normal starter Wes Lunt has not played due to a leg injury. Back up Reilly O’Toole has completed 7-of-13 passing attempts for 140 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Illinois will get the ball to start the second half. A win would put Nebraska at 5-0, which they have not done since the 2010 season.