Ron Kellogg and Jordan Westerkamp set off the celebration Saturday with their desperation 49-yard touchdown pass as time expired with Nebraska beating Northwestern 27-24.
But somewhat lost in the success of the two-minute drill, at least momentarily, was the contributions of I-back Ameer Abdullah.
With NU taking over at its own 17 with 1:14 left, the junior took a 12-yard pass from Kellogg to get it started. The two followed with a 3-yard connection before an incompletion and a sack left the Huskers with fourth-and-15 from their 24 with the clocking running.
Then came some vintage Abdullah.
After Kellogg escaped trouble and dumped a short pass, Abdullah somehow got near the first-down marker and then stretched the ball to get the last of what he needed. The 16-yard play got NU out to the 40 with 21 seconds to go, and the Huskers were helped by the play being reviewed.
With second life, Nebraska scored four plays later.
“Ameer’s a great football player, and the reason he’s a great football player is because he’s got the right heart and soul for this game,” NU assistant coach Ron Brown said. “He took it on his back. And not only did he have some key runs in the second half, but he also had some key checkdown catches in the two-minute drive.”
Brown said Abdullah is always a part of the offense as Nebraska works the two-minute drill. The staff even considered running a hook-and-lateral to Abdullah on the final play, Brown said, before head coach Bo Pelini chose the Hail Mary throw.
In addition to his three receptions for 31 yards on the Huskers’ final possession, Abdullah also had 127 rushing yards on 24 attempts. His seventh 100-yard game of the season gave him 1,000 for the second straight season and pushed him into the Big Ten lead with 1,108.