Ameer Abdullah’s quest for a Heisman Trophy has led to an all-out assault of a number of school records at Nebraska, although the most historic part of his next game will be the two teams taking the field. The 16th-ranked Cornhuskers, who host Rutgers on Saturday, watched Abdullah rush for a career-high four touchdowns in last weekend’s 38-17 win over Northwestern. The senior running back also became only the second player in program history to run for over 4,000 yards in his career.
Abdullah – the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards per game (192.7) – notched his fourth consecutive multiple-score game and became the first Cornhusker to record three 1,000-yard rushing seasons. As rare as those accomplishments are in the school’s 125-year football history, it seemingly pales in comparison to the fact that Babe Ruth had just joined the New York Yankees and Nebraska’s 91-year-old Memorial Stadium had yet to be built the last time the Cornhuskers faced the Scarlet Knights – a 28-0 win over Rutgers at the Polo Grounds in 1920. The Scarlet Knights suffered their biggest margin of defeat in 12 years last weekend at Ohio State (56-17), two weeks after collecting their first ever Big Ten victory against Michigan.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN2. LINE: Nebraska -17.5
ABOUT RUTGERS (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten): The Scarlet Knights played penalty-free ball in their first ever conference road game against the Buckeyes, but committed three turnovers and went 3-for-13 on third down to squash their hopes of staying with the Buckeyes. "When we play well, when we execute, we can compete with anyone in the country. We didn't do a very good job of that," coach Kyle Flood told reporters following his team’s loss to Ohio State. Sophomore running back Desmon Peoples matched a personal best with 83 yards rushing and scored his first two career touchdowns in the setback.
ABOUT NEBRASKA (6-1, 2-1): Like Abdullah, wide receiver Kenny Bell is also on the verge of setting a pair of school marks of his own: he needs six catches and 70 receiving yards to become the career leader in both categories. The Cornhuskers, who have outscored the opposition 146-51 in the second half (including 60-10 in conference play), outgained Northwestern 244-28 after halftime en route to blanking the Wildcats over the last 30 minutes on Saturday. Nebraska ranks second in the conference and sixth nationally in third-down defense, holding opponents to a 27.9 percent success rate.
1. Rutgers, which has played more games (1,295) than any other FBS program, will conclude a five-game stretch on Saturday in which it has faced each of the next four schools on the list (Nebraska is fourth overall with 1,269).
2. The Cornhuskers’ 94-year gap between games against Rutgers is the longest in school history between games against an opponent.
3. The Scarlet Knights have blocked five kicks and two punts this season and have recorded a total of 41 since 2009 – all of which are FBS-high totals.
PREDICTION: Nebraska 41, Rutgers 20