What was that? Arkansas State’s trickery backfired in the first quarter when — after a timeout — the Red Wolves attempted a throwback pass on third-and-5. Fredi Knighten’s pass was intercepted by Nebraska safety P.J. Smith, the first of several key stops in Husker territory.
Peculiar play: Did the punt really hit Ameer Abdullah’s heel? Officials said yes. A third-quarter punt bounced off the turf and, according to the officials, deflected off Nebraska’s punt returner. He didn’t think so. But replays didn’t change the officials’ minds. The Husker defense held Arkansas State to a field goal.
Questionable call: Gus Malzahn is known for his disdain of punting. And going for it on fourth-and-8 at midfield on ASU’s first drive of the game bucked coaching protocol. In his defense, he likely knew that ASU’s defense couldn’t stop NU from 50 yards or 90 yards. The Huskers forced an incompletion — and scored a TD nine plays later.
Rave review: Sophomore skill players. Specifically, Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell. Abdullah had 30 offensive touches, Bell just three. But they were the offensive standouts. Both have the potential to be multi-year, All-Big Ten players.