Ron Brown has seen a lot of option football in his many years as a Nebraska assistant coach, but few that worked out like the Huskers’ winning touchdown against Michigan.
In fact, Brown said he couldn’t recall any off the top of his head that included the pitch going forward from the quarterback to the I-back, as it did from Tommy Armstrong to Ameer Abdullah.
The 5-yard play with 2:03 left was ruled a TD pass because the lateral was forward. It was legal because it was behind the line of scrimmage, akin to a shovel pass.
“The kid on defense made it a tough read,” said Brown, the Huskers’ running backs coach.
Armstrong hesitated and held on to the football because Michigan defensive end Frank Clark never committed to either the quarterback or back. As Armstrong decided what to do, Abdullah kept running and ended up in front of Armstrong as he finally went to pitch.
Brown said the other part of the play that stood out was receiver Alonzo Moore holding his block on Wolverines cornerback Raymon Taylor in the end zone to give Abdullah a clear path to the goal line.
It gave Nebraska a 17-13 win at Michigan Stadium, and bragging rights until the Huskers and Wolverines meet next in 2018.
Some other wrap-up items from the Big House:
>> Abdullah logged his eighth 100-yard performance in nine games with 105 on 27 carries. The junior is now No. 16 on the Huskers’ all-time chart with 2,500 for his career.
>> NU senior Quincy Enunwa became the eighth player in school history to reach 100 career receptions, getting a career-high seven Saturday to push his total to 104.
>> Armstrong was 5 for 7 passing for 59 yards on the Huskers’ game-winning drive. Armstrong and Ron Kellogg were a combined 7 of 16 for 86 yards up to that point.
>> NU head coach Bo Pelini said offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles had a knee strain, similar to what Jake Cotton suffered last week. Cotton did not play Saturday.
Asked if he was OK as he walked by reporters doing postgame interviews, Sirles winked and nodded.
>> The Nebraska defense had gone 17 straight possessions without allowing a touchdown until Michigan came out of halftime with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive Saturday.
>> The 15 tackles for losses by the NU defense were the most since making 15 against Texas in the 2009 Big 12 championship game.
>> Michigan did not gain a first down rushing. Overall, the Wolverines were 3 of 15 on third-down conversions (and 1 of 3 on fourth down) after Northwestern had gone 2 of 14 last week against NU.