Ameer Abdullah Runs Into Heisman Contention

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Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah will rush for 2,000 yards so long as he’s healthy. He’s at 1,249 eight games into the schedule, thus needs to average roughly 180 over his next four games.

Projecting such a lofty output might seem like going out on a limb, but after he went off for 225 yards in Nebraska’s rout of Rutgers Saturday, Abdullah improved his per-game average within Big Ten play to 156–shy of the 180 he needs to ensure himself the mark, true.

But take away the 45 yards he gained against Michigan State, one of the best defensive teams in all of college football, and Abdullah is rolling up 193 yards against Big Ten defenses.

The Huskers’ remaining slate is Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

So long as he is not injured and in the Cornhuskers lineup, Abdullah will join one of the most exclusive clubs in college football history–a club that features such members as Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, Ladainian Tomlinson, Troy Davis, Ricky Williams and the most recent addition, Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Precedent suggests if Ameer Abdullah does indeed join the illustrious 2,000-Yard Club, an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony will follow.

There have been 2,000-yard rushers who didn’t get that call, but Donald Brown, Matt Forte and Kevin Smith were all from non-power programs. One must go back to 2004 when Cal’s J.J. Arrington rushed for 2,018 yards to find a power program running back who hit the 2,000-yard milestone and didn’t get to New York.

But Arrington’s snub probably had more to do with the general disdain built up from months of Mack Brown running a negative campaign against Cal, than it had to do with anything pertaining to Ameer Abdullah.

A 2,000-yard ball-carrier out of the Big Ten–out of Nebraska–would have to be a shoo-in Heisman finalist, right?

It may not be such an open-and-shut case. This is a unique season in that several rushers are in realistic contention for the 2,000-yard mark.

It probably hurts Abdullah’s case that two such fellow double-millennium chasers are in the same conference; one, Melvin Gordon, is in the same division.

Nebraska and Ameer Abdullah do not go head-to-head against Indiana and Tevin Coleman, but the Hoosiers’ middling status likely removes their 8.8-yard per carry man from contention. Sorry IU, there won’t be an Anthony Thompson redux.

The Huskers do take on Gordon and Wisconsin, however, and the national spotlight will be on Madison for that Nov. 15 showdown.

Gordon had his own impressive Week 9 performance, albeit with a limited workload. The Badgers didn’t need him too much in a 52-7 dismantling for Maryland, but the nation’s leading rusher by average still went for 122 yards and three touchdowns.

The two have very similar rushing resumes as of Week 9, but where Abdullah well exceeds Gordon is with versatility.

Saturday’s effort against Rutgers was Abdullah as his triple-threat best. His 341 total yards against the Scarlet Knights set a personal mark, with 26 yards coming from receptions and 90 on kickoff returns.

If Abdullah continues to shine in all three phases, it will only strengthen what would be a rock-solid case if he gets to 2,000 yards. And he’s going to get to 2,000 yards.

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