Former Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. is now a championship gunslinger. Armstrong guided the Omaha Beef to their first perfect 12-0 season, culminating in a 50-30 victory over Salina Liberty in the Champions Indoor Football League’s Champions Bowl 8 earlier this month. It was the third straight Champions Bowl between Salina and Omaha, with the Beef now holding a 2-1 edge.
Armstrong and the Beef offense exploded for 33 points in the second half to pull away from the Liberty. The former Husker quarterback was 7-of-11 with 89 yards and a passing touchdown. He ran for 36 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns. Armstrong nearly scored another rushing touchdown but fumbled when trying to stretch across the goal line on a first-half run. His only passing touchdown was a 42-yard strike to receiver Gourney Sloan in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
The former Maxwell Award watch list honoree scored the Champions Bowl’s first touchdown on a 6-yard run. That was bookended by turnovers from Salina quarterback Ed Crouch (no relation). Salina took a lead early in the second quarter but Armstrong’s second touchdown run recaptured an advantage for the Beef. That game was played at Liberty First Credit Union Arena, also known as the Ralston Arena.
Armstrong finished 16-of-26 in the postseason for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He had 90 total rushing yards in the two-game postseason. In total, he finished 86-of-138 for 1,053 yards and 29 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He led the Beef by far with 17 rushing touchdowns on 61 attempts while tallying 294 yards. Armstrong stood second in the league in passer efficiency and three times won Offensive Player of the Week honors.
While the Beef were largely propelled to the league’s first perfect record by swarming defense, Armstrong engineered a potent offense. Omaha never scored less than 36 points in over a dozen games, seven times eclipsing 50 points. Following a 71-0 exhibition win over the Omaha Cattlemen as a tune-up, Armstrong threw for 188 yards and five touchdowns (three in the first quarter) to beat the Billings Outlaws in the regular-season opener. That set the tone for the Beef’s season.
The Beef signed the former four-year starter at Nebraska back in February. Armstrong just spent last fall in his first season as offensive coordinator at Lincoln North Star. He played briefly with the Minnesota Vikings and eventually landed with the Nebraska Danger of the Indoor Football League. Armstrong actually won 2019 Indoor Football League Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He played briefly with the Sioux Falls Storm before joining the Beef.
Armstrong also made headlines back in December when he rescued neighbors from a house fire.
In four seasons as Nebraska’s quarterback, the dual-threat Armstrong threw for 8,871 yards and 67 touchdowns while running for 1,819 yards and 23 touchdowns. He played in 45 games across those four seasons, starting with his redshirt freshman season filling in for an injured Taylor Martinez. Nebraska was 8-0 in games Armstrong started that 2013 season. He took a full-time starter role as a sophomore after that, leading Nebraska to a 9-4 record. Mike Riley took over the program ahead of Armstrong’s junior season. An injury kept him from playing against Purdue and the Huskers went 6-6 with Armstrong under center. He started 11 games as a senior and Nebraska went 8-3 in those games. Armstrong did not play due to injury in that year’s Music City Bowl, the last time the Huskers made a bowl game.