Last season, Ameer Abdullah rushed for 1,690 yards – ninth most in America – and could have easily gone pro. Instead, the Nebraska running back returned to Lincoln for his senior season.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Abdullah said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Just being back with my friends, being back with this family – I really love the guys who I encounter every day. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s really made me a better man. I had a lot of growing up to do from January to now. I feel like I’ve grown up a lot and there’s a lot more things I’ve gained that’ll help me out much more in life in the long run.”
The short run has been pretty kind to Abdullah as well, as he’s carried the No. 24 Cornhuskers to a 3-0 start. He has 396 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season, but his Heisman moment came through the air.
Well, sort of.
With less than a minute to go in a tie game against lowly McNeese State on Sept. 6, Abdullah took a short pass from Tommy Armstrong and scurried 58 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
“It’s just a testament to the preparation (and) how key preparation is for the weeks leading up to the games,” Abdullah said. “We didn’t have a great week of preparation. And a lot of young guys on the team (didn’t) realize you have to respect the game of football. It was definitely a wake-up call. But in the moment, the guys did a pretty good job of rallying in the last drive and keeping their composure to pull out the game.”
Nebraska will have a much stiffer test this Saturday against Miami (2-1).
“I’m throughly educated on (Miami’s) history,” Abdullah said. “Being here in Nebraska, there’s so much tradition, and the history of the game between Miami and Nebraska is a great one. It’s gone back and forth. (We) played (each other) in a national championship (in January 2002). It was the last time we really met up. They have a great team and a great university. It was definitely one of my dream schools growing up.”
National pundits will be curious to see how Nebraska fares this weekend, especially playing at home. The Big Ten, as we all know, has recently taken a beating in out-of-conference games.
Abudullah, however, doesn’t really care what the pundits think or say. He just wants to win football games.
“I grew up in SEC country,” the Homewood, Alabama, native said. “And it’s definitely a bubble down there. A lot of people who grew up down there don’t really realize there’s other good football teams and good football players outside of the Southeastern Conference. I mean, you can’t really argue with them. Statistically, they’ve been the most dominant conference. The ACC’s been really good. The Pac-12 (has done) well. The Big Ten has had its moments where it’s good; sometimes it’s had its moments where it’s not so good. But we can’t worry about the Big Ten or what (Ohio State and Wisconsin are doing). And quite frankly, I (couldn’t) care less. All I want to do is win games for Nebraska. As long as we do that, you can make fun of the conference all you want. But stats don’t lie.”