Published Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:34 pm
FOOTBALL
Huskers punch holes in Spartan D

LINCOLN — Lost in Saturday's quagmire of five Nebraska turnovers were unprecedented rushing and total offense numbers by the Huskers against Michigan State's No. 1-ranked defense.

The most noteworthy was the 123 rushing yards gained on 22 carries by junior running back Ameer Abdullah. No other player had cracked the 100-yard barrier against the Spartans this season — in fact, no team had done it.

“Ameer had great eyes. He was seeing things and getting where he needed to get to, hitting holes,” Nebraska running backs coach Ron Brown said.

Before the Huskers posted 182 yards, the best team rushing performance was the 92 gained by Indiana Oct. 12 on 27 carries.

The Huskers outgained Michigan State 392-361 despite running 16 fewer plays (80-64). Again, the Hoosiers owned the previous season best with 351.

“I thought we did a nice job of spreading them out with our receivers getting wide and having to force their 'backers to go out wide and cover receivers,” Brown said. “I thought our offensive line did a nice job coming off the ball, picking up things against a very stout defense.

“There was no question we could have run the ball all day.”

If it weren't for those pesky turnovers …

“The turnovers killed us,” Brown said. “They shortened our drives tremendously, particularly in the first half. We had great effort. We had a good plan, a real good plan.”

Both Brown and offensive line coach John Garrison credited Nebraska's front five for the Huskers' average of just over six yards per play.

“Some things you can and can't control, but overall, my group of guys, I think they went out and played hard,” Garrison said. “We didn't play a great game, but I thought we gave our team an opportunity to win. Those guys gutted it out.”

By halftime Abdullah had gained 87 yards and Garrison said the NU linemen at times were controlling the line of scrimmage.

What was most heartening to Garrison was the way the whole offense continued to play hard, even when the Huskers got down by 13, then 20 in the last half of the fourth quarter. That effort resulted in a 12-yard touchdown pass to Abdullah from Ron Kellogg with 10 seconds to play.

“We controlled what we could control, and that's control of the line of scrimmage and protect our quarterback,” Garrison said. “You saw on the last drive they very well could have cashed it in, and they didn't do that.”

Ultimately, Brown said, there was one statistic that took some luster off everything else the offense accomplished.

“When you put the ball on the ground five times, to their zero, you can't beat a bad team, let alone a good team,” Brown said. “The score was 5-0. That's the key stat of the day.”

Contact the writer: Steve Beideck

stevebeideck63@gmail.com    |   402-618-4113    |  

Steve is a correspondent for The Omaha World-Herald and covers the Omaha Lancers and high school sports.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >