Thanks to Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Rex Burkhead being sidelined for most of the season with a knee injury, Ameer Abdullah has emerged as a more than competent replacement. Burkhead was an All-Big Ten running back in 2011, but his injury has limited him to just 47 carries this year. Abdullah has stepped up and carried the load well for the Cornhuskers.
Abdullah hit the 200 carry mark in Nebraska’s 38-14 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and now has over 1,000 rushing yards on the campaign. If the Cornhuskers can get to the conference title game, then Abdullah should be able to close in on 1,300 yards for the season. That would still be fewer than what Burkhead posted last year, but still a total more than any other Cornhusker back has recorded over the last decade.
The impressive thing about Abdullah is how tough he is for his size. At only 5-foot-9 and 185lbs, he is fairly undersized for a running back in Division I. However, what Abdullah lacks in size, he makes up for in versatility. In addition to carrying the rock for Nebraska in 2012, he has also been their main punt returner. He sits second in the conference with 13.9 yards per return and also ranks second in all-purpose yards per game, averaging 151.3 a contest.
Sometimes injuries to starters really show you how much depth you have as a team. When a focal point of your offense like Burkhead goes down you really need someone to step up and pick up the slack. And Abdullah has clearly shown he can do just that.
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