Abdullah helps Nebraska cruise past Illini
No. 25 Nebraska 39, Illinois 19: Ameer Abdullah rushed for a career-high 225 yards and two touchdowns and Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw a pair of scoring passes as host Nebraska rolled to an easy win to open Big Ten play.
Playing a second consecutive game without senior quarterback Taylor Martinez because of turf toe, Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) racked up 521 total yards and won its league opener for the 36th time in 39 tries.
Josh Ferguson rushed for 114 yards and a score for Illinois (3-2, 0-1), but the Cornhuskers frustrated Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who was 13-of-26 for 135 yards and an interception before giving way to Reilly O'Toole for the Illini's final drive.
Nebraska scored on its first four possessions to roll up a 23-5 halftime lead. Abdullah and Imani Cross each had 2-yard touchdown runs in the first half, and Armstrong hit Quincy Enunwa for a 4-yard scoring pass.
Abdullah ripped off a 43-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter, and Kenny Bell made a spectacular catch for a 43-yard score from Armstrong to make it 36-12.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Abdullah's 200-yard rushing game is the first by a Nebraska player since Taylor Martinez (205) completed the task last season … Donovonn Young rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown for the Illini. … Illinois has lost seven straight and 16 of their last 17 against ranked opponents since beating Ohio State in 2007.
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