So many Nebraska football fans have already thrown in the towel on the 2015 season and hey, I can understand why. After four heartbreaking losses, holding onto hope just seems like a recipe for more grief.
The cries for Mike Riley’s head after six games are there (of course), as are the idiotic memes that float around the Internet but hear me, Husker fans! If the Big Red had but one special element, they would likely be undefeated instead of holding their current record.
Do you know why? Sure you do. It’s the guy that ran for 1,000 yards or more for three consecutive seasons. It’s the guy who the Detroit Lions snagged for a steal in the second round. It’s the guy who appropriately went by AA8 as he was the most electrifying member of many a Husker team: Ameer Abdullah.
This is a player who prevented the worst loss in Nebraska history by using his razzle dazzle to rip victory from the jaws of defeat against McNeese State. Only the eventual No. 5 team in the country (Michigan State) could stymie him.
Nebraska’s been struggling massively during the past couple of games, of that there is no doubt. However, Abdullah was the cat that could turn a loss of three into a gain of seven. He ran for 208 yards and three touchdowns against Illinois last year.
Is there honestly any doubt he couldn’t have helped the Huskers put 30-plus on the board this season?
Even if Nebraska found itself in the same situation last Saturday against Wisconsin where it only needed seven yards on third down to move the chains and likely win the game, do you doubt Abdullah could run for at least five and extend the drive?
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Abdullah made an average offensive line look better than it was in 2014 and let’s be honest. This 2015 squad is full of guys with different talents trying to work together as best they can. Last year was no different.
Much like in 2001 when former Husker head coach Frank Solich had Eric Crouch under center, Bo Pelini could call upon his best player and Abdullah (to paraphrase Tim Gunn) “made it work” 99 times out of 100.
If he had a redshirt season, there are no Styrofoam cups that say “Fire Mike Riley” following the BYU loss. There are no articles simply titled “Nebraska's Mike Riley Supporters Are Wrong.” Instead, he is praised as a hero, lauded for his ability to implement a new system, etc.
The litany of injuries doesn’t exactly help, but an 80 percent Abdullah is better than plenty 100 percent backs in the country today.
An excuse? No. Poor timing? Definitely.
The Mike Riley era will continue with experimentation. No doubt it will with some heartache, too and it’s a shame it can’t go on with Abdullah.
The team could definitely use a spark.