Lincoln - Senior running back Ameer Abdullah sprinted for a career-high 232 yards, while Kenny Bell and Jordan Westerkamp each added 100-yard receiving games, as No. 22 Nebraska rolled to a 55-7 victory over Florida Atlantic Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
The Cornhuskers, who notched their NCAA-record 334th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium as they opened their 125th season of football, amassed 784 yards of total offense against the Owls. The offensive eruption went hand-in-hand with solid defense to help the Huskers record their 29th consecutive season-opening victory.
The Husker offense enjoyed a record-setting day with a pair of 100-yard rushers and a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game.
Abdullah became just the eighth Husker in history to cross the 3,000-yard rushing mark, finishing the day with 21 carries for 232 yards and a touchdown. He pushed his career total to 3,209 yards to rank sixth on the Nebraska all-time list.
Sophomore Terrell Newby added his first career 100-yard game, crossing the plateau with 16 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns. It marked the 76th double 100-yard game in Nebraska history.
Bell added his fourth career 100-yard receiving game to push his career total past 2,000 yards. The senior wide receiver became just the third Husker in history to cross 2,000 receiving yards, joining Johnny Rodgers and Nate Swift. Bell finished with four receptions for 116 yards.
Westerkamp, a sophomore wide receiver, added his second career 100-yard game with career highs of seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Westerkamp's day included an amazing behind-the-back catch as he tip-toed on the Nebraska sideline in the third quarter.
Bell and Westerkamp became the first pair of Nebraska wide receivers to go over 100 yards in the same game, and it marked just the third time overall that two Huskers each went over 100 yards receiving in the same game.
The Huskers finished with 784 total yards, including 498 rushing and 286 passing. Sophomore starter Tommy Armstrong Jr. completed 15-of-29 passes for 271 and two touchdowns, while adding seven carries for 62 yards and another score to finish with 333 yards of total offense.
Armstrong put the Huskers on the board first with his five-yard touchdown run to cap Nebraska's eight-play, 86-yard opening drive of the season. Armstrong rushed for 13 yards on the drive, while completing 2-of-3 passes, including a pair of clutch third-down conversions. His first pass attempt of the season was a 24-yard completion to Bell to convert 3rd-and-8.
Junior I-back Imani Cross helped set up Armstrong's opening touchdown with a 25-yard burst up the middle to set up 1st-and-Goal at the FAU 5.
The Owls answered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by Jaquez Johnson's 20-yard touchdown pass to Lucky Whitehead with 4:56 left in the first, before Armstrong led NU on another first-quarter touchdown march.
NU's second drive, which was slowed by three offensive penalties, ended with Armstrong's 36-yard scoring strike to Westerkamp with 1:22 left in the quarter. The reception was one of several highlights for Westerkamp in the first half, as the sophomore receiver hauled in career highs with six catches for 109 yards in the first half alone.
The Huskers actually rolled up 211 yards of total offense on their first two drives, overcoming 50 yards of offensive penalties in the opening period.
The Huskers added freshman place-kicker Drew Brown's first career field goal, a 44-yarder, with 12:18 left in the half to push the margin to 17-7.
After the Blackshirts held on their next possession, Abdullah cruised over the 100-yard rushing mark for the 18th time in his career. He reached the mark on just his 12th carry of the game. Two carries later, he exploded for his first touchdown of the season with a 47-yard eruption up the middle that included an electric open-field cut that left an Owl flapping at thin air. He finished the half with 178 yards on 18 carries.
Another defensive stop set up a seven-play, 66-yard drive capped by a punishing three-yard touchdown run by Cross with 2:30 left to push the Big Red lead to 31-7. The Huskers scored on each of their first six drives.
The Huskers kept it going on their drive of the second half, driving 78 yards in 10 plays capped by Newby's two-yard touchdown run. NU's drive included a highlight reel, behind-the-back catch by Westerkamp as he stuck two feet inbounds on the Nebraska sideline.
After Blackshirt three-and-out, Abdullah opened NU's drive with a nine-yard run to push his rushing total to a career-high 232 yards. On the next play, Armstrong hooked up on a 63-yard strike with Bell to push Bell over 100 yards in the game and 2,000 in his career. The drive ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass to freshman De'Mornay Pierson-El.
Mauro Bondi added a 45-yard field goal late in the third quarter and Newby scored his second touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter to cap the Husker scoring for the day.
The Huskers will be back in action at Memorial Stadium next Saturday when they take on McNeese State. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. with live national television coverage provided by ESPNU.
Final: #22 Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
First Quarter (NEB, 14-7)
NEB - 9:19 - Tommy Armstrong Jr. 5 run (Drew Brown kick), 13 plays, 86 yards, 5:41 - NEB 7-0
FAU - 4:56 - Lucky Whitehead 20 pass from Jaquez Johnson (Greg Joseph kick) 11 plays, 75 yards, 4:23 - 7-7
NEB - 1:22 - Jordan Westerkamp 36 pass from Armstrong (Brown kick), 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:34 - NEB 14-7
Second Quarter (NEB, 31-7)
NEB - 12:18 - Brown 44 FG - 9 plays, 49 yards, 2:30, NEB 17-7
NEB - 6:49 - Ameer Abdullah 47 run (Brown kick), 4 plays, 72 yards, 1:38 - NEB 24-7
NEB - 2:30 - Imani Cross 3 run (Brown kick), 7 plays, 66 yards, 2:19 - NEB 31-7
Third Quarter (NEB, 48-7)
NEB - 10:18 - Terrell Newby 2 run (Brown kick) - 10 plays, 78 yards, 3:41 - NEB 38-7
NEB - 6:41 - De'Mornay Pierson-El pass from Armstrong (Brown kick), 3 plays, 80 yards, 1:10 - NEB 45-7
NEB - 3:09 - Mauro Bondi 45 FG - 9 plays, 42 yards, 3:09, NEB 48-7
Fourth Quarter (NEB, 55-7)
NEB - 13:20 - Newby 1 run (Bondi kick) - 8 plays, 71 yards, 3:51 - NEB 55-7
Final: #22 Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7
Time of Game: 3:20
Game Start: 2:43 p.m. (central)