As the Nebraska Cornhuskers look to secure their first Big Ten title ever in 2014, Bo Pelini has some holes to fill. Long time starting quarterback Taylor Martinez has graduated leaving some questions about the next signal caller at Nebraska. But as the team works on getting their next signal caller up to speed, they can rely on running back Ameer Abdullah to carry the load as the best running back in the Big Ten.
Last season, Abdullah led the conference rushing for 1,690 yards on 281 carries with nine touchdowns. His 130 yards per game average were good for No. 6 in the nation in 2013 and are the highest of any returning player in 2014. While his talents are overshadowed in the Big Ten by the home-run ability of Melvin Gordon with the Wisconsin Badgers, Abdullah is a proven workhorse who can grind out yardage to keep an offense on track.
Of course, opposing defenses are well aware of Abudllah and his ability to pound the rock and will be planning accordingly this fall. That means plenty of stacked boxes to contain the powerful back to try and minimize his impact on the game. But defenses knew about Abdullah last season, too, and it didn’t seem to help them too much.
Still, Abdullah would be well-served by the emergence of a legitimate passing attack in 2014. If the Huskers can throw the ball, it will help keep defenders honest and keep the box uncluttered to open up running lanes for Abdullah. With a bit of balance in the Nebraska offense, there’s no telling how high Abdullah will rise. With a few big games, he could make a run at the Doak Walker Award and a Heisman Trophy nomination.
While the rest of college football seems to be moving towards the hurry-up, track-star style of offense, Nebraska will continue to lean on their star out of the backfield, Ameer Abdullah, to lead the way in 2014.