Fear Ameer indeed. Mr. Abdullah proved to be as good as advertised and then some. The Nebraska running back went off for 225 rushing yards and 3 TDs. He also added 26 receiving yards and 90 yards on kickoff returns, good for 341 all purpose yards on the day. The lightning quick Abdullah was a weapon the Knights simply could not stop. Like last week's game against Ohio State, Rutgers had a serious size disadvantage on the lines, and the defense looked overmatched way more than they should. Abdullah aside, the talent differential did not seem as exaggerated as it did against OSU.
Unlike the game against the Buckeyes, there were some positives the Knights can take from this game. The offense looked competent overall, putting up 205 passing yards and 143 rushing yards on a Nebraska defense that just this week received their vaunted "blackshirts" back from Coach Pelini. For perspective, Michigan State put up 188 rushing and 234 passing on the Huskers three weeks ago, so offense was respectable.
Some other bright spots: Anthony Cioffi looked good today, making some nice open field tackles. Leonte Carroo did his thing, putting up 127 yards on 5 catches with a long TD. Josh Hicks looked good as a returner - he runs with more power and aggression than Grant has shown this year. Punter Tim Gleeson bounced back from a lousy showing in Columbus, dropping a few inside the ten. And Rutgers won the turnover battle (2-1) and time of possession. QB Chris Laviano looked nice in the second half, leading the Knights to two TDs. He finished 4-7 passing for 49 yards. He also led the team in rushing with 54 yards, 46 of which came early in the second half.
Wait . . . who did what?
Now the truly bad news: Gary Nova left the game with a potentially serious knee (and also maybe ankle) injury. And it did not even have to happen. Rutgers was down 21-7 one minute before the half, and they started the drive on their own 2 yard line. Most coaches probably would have run three times and ran the clock to zeros before heading to the locker room. Instead, Rutgers came out throwing. The first 2 passes went incomplete, and only burned nine seconds of clock. Nova connected for a first down to Andrew Turzilli on third down. Nova was then slammed to the ground while trying to keep a play alive, and was in visible agony on the Nebraska turf. He limped off with the support of two trainers, grimacing. He tried to loosen up during half time, but there was no way he was going back in this game. His status is uncertain, and we should know more tomorrow. Pray for good news here.