November 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Against Ohio State, it was the duo of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller that lifted the Buckeyes over Penn State with 189 combined yards on the ground.
Saturday, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and Taylor Martinez proved even more lethal, gaining 249 rushing yards between them in the Cornhuskers' 32-23 victory against the Nittany Lions.
Martinez, Nebraska's junior quarterback, collected 104 yards on 15 carries, good for a 6.9 yards per carry average. He also added 171 yards and a touchdown on 12-20 passing to cap an effort his coach raved about after the game.
"I thought Taylor played his butt off," Huskers coach Bo Pelini said. "He was calm the whole time, I thought he played a good football game."
Abdullah's 3.7 yards per carry average wasn't quite as impressive as his teammate's, but he still managed to give Penn State's defensive front fits by operating as Martinez's wing man on option reads and toting the ball for clock-killing carries once Nebraska took the lead in the fourth quarter.
Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill thought Abdullah's ability to follow his blocks well was a big reason for his success.
"It felt like they were just pulling everybody on their offensive line. They'd run a toss and he'd just follow them," Hill said. "He's a good back. He's a young kid. A lot of credit to him."
In fact, Penn State will see a lot of Abdullah in the years to come. The sophomore from Homewood, Ala. will be in Nebraska's lineup for at least the next couple of years unless he decides to leave early for the NFL Draft. The first option after the injured Rex Burkhead, Abdullah now has 942 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
They'll see Martinez next season back at Beaver Stadium, too. And Penn State coach Bill O'Brien wasn't afraid to talk about him with the best when asked about the signal-caller's big day.
"In this league, we face some really good athletic quarterbacks," O'Brien said. "You look at the kids at Northwestern, Ohio State and Taylor Martinez. These guys are good players, they can throw, so he was difficult tonight."