awb_2013_10_05_Illinois-at-Nebraska_1156-e1381017995590

More Ameer

There’s a boulder under the north stadium grandstand, not 50 feet from the north endzone. That stone with the bronze plaque attached is one of the first things the players see after exiting the locker room for the tunnel walk. If you’ve ever been to a Husker game, you’ve probably seen it. You may not have noticed it.

That metal plate fastened to the boulder has a three-word inscription…

“POUND THE ROCK”

I hope Tim Beck makes more trips out of the tunnel. Ameer Abdullah gets an eyeful of that beautifully simple piece of advice every Saturday. His latest effort was a career day – running the ball 20 times for 225 yards and two touchdowns. He tacked on a 15-yard reception, too. And yes, that 225-yard benchmark is indeed a career high.

“It was a good day,” Abdullah said.

Pretty good. Not quite as good as Roy Helu’s 307-yard day against 6th-ranked Missouri in 2010, but pretty damn close. His 225 yards were the highest total by a Nebraska running back since that day, a Nebraska record.

Abdullah had three runs of 30 yards or more against the Illini, doubling his season total to six. Saturday marked the 10th time he’s run for 100 yards or more. Imani Cross’ 76 rushing yards spilled Nebraska’s total rushing yards up over 300 yards – and believe it or not – the Huskers are still undefeated under Bo Pelini when rushing for 300 yards or more.

“POUND THE ROCK”

We shouldn’t need a 50 degree morning and 30 mph wind gusts to see Abdullah with 18-20 carries per game. Fumbling is an issue, yes, but it’s that or passes from a hobbled Taylor Martinez. Abdullah ranked in the top-10 in total rushing yards in the early weeks of the season, and even after sitting out a bye week, he ranked 20th in the nation with 465 yards. Saturday’s outing against Illinois bumped his 2013 total up to 690. That’s 138 yards per game with an average of 7.34 yards per carry.

That’s pace for more than 1,650 yards. Or as I like to call them, Heisman numbers.

“I mean, if you give Ameer a little room, he’s gonna make something happen,” right guard Spencer Long said. “So that’s what we try to do, and Ameer will always be ready to go.”

It’s not just the rock-pounding where he excels, either. Abdullah crossed the century mark on the afternoon with a nifty 43-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, dodging Illini tacklers with a cut that Barry Sanders would have tipped his cap to.

“POUND THE ROCK”

Or pass him the rock. Maybe toss him the rock. Let him tote the rock outside on a stretch.

Maybe even let him kick the rock on the extra points after his own touchdowns.



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