EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Ameer Abdullah had four 1-yard touchdown runs and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. scored on a 16-yard reception, leading No. 19 Nebraska to a 38-17 victory at Northwestern on Saturday night.
Abdullah finished with 146 yards on 23 carries as the Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) bounced back from a 27-22 loss at Michigan State. Abdullah had only 45 yards in the loss to the Spartans on Oct. 4.
Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) wasted another big game for freshman Justin Jackson in its second consecutive loss. Jackson had 128 yards and two touchdowns in his third straight 100-yard game.
The Wildcats got a scare in the third quarter when receiver Miles Shuler had his head down when he slammed into Nebraska safety Corey Cooper after a short reception. Shuler held up his right arm to acknowledge the cheers as he was taken off the field on a stretcher. The school said he was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Led by Abdullah, the Cornhuskers improved to 3-1 against the Wildcats since joining the Big Ten. The three previous meetings were decided by seven points, including Nebraska's 27-24 win last season on Jordan Westerkamp's 49-yard touchdown reception on a tipped Hail Mary as time expired.
This one wasn't that close.
Abdullah scored three times in the second half and Drew Brown kicked a 33-yard field goal as Nebraska scored 24 unanswered points to erase a 17-14 halftime deficit. Northwestern had just 28 yards in the second half.
The four touchdowns set a career high for Abdullah, who also passed Ahman Green for second on the school's career rushing list. The senior also became the first player in school history with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
The first half was more in line with the close history in the series. The Wildcats and Cornhuskers were tied at 7 before they combined for 17 points in the final 1:52 of the second quarter.
The scoring spree started with a flashy move by Jackson on a 5-yard touchdown run that gave Northwestern a 14-7 lead. Josh Mitchell was going in for the tackle on Jackson near the line of scrimmage when the freshman spun away from the defensive back and went in for his fifth TD of the season.
De'Mornay Pierson-El, another true freshman, then led Nebraska right down the field. He had a 46-yard catch-and-run down to the Northwestern 27, showing off impressive speed.
After an 11-yard reception for Abdullah, Pierson-El took a pitch on a reverse and threw across the field to a wide-open Armstrong for a tying 16-yard TD.
Northwestern got the ball back with a little more than a minute to go. But Trevor Siemian had a 15-yard pass to Cameron Dickerson and found Treyvon Green for 23 yards to help set up Jack Mitchell's 29-yard field goal with 3 second left.
Jackson had 15 carries for 99 yards and two touchdowns at the break, compared to nine carries for 39 yards and a score for Abdullah.
Jackson helped Northwestern get off to a fast start. Wearing new black uniforms with an architecture theme, the Wildcats put together a 15-play, 89-yard scoring drive on their first possession. Dan Vitale grabbed two big third-down receptions and Jackson had six carries for 39 yards, including a 2-yard TD with 5:58 left in the first.
Abdullah got his 11th rushing touchdown of the season in the second quarter, a 1-yard plunge that capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive. Armstrong set up the score with a 17-yard run to the 1.