Bo Pelini ill, but Huskers get well in victory
September, 15, 2012
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
It was a rough day for Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, but a great one for his players, who needed to get well after last week's loss at UCLA.
Pelini had to be checked out by the team doctor in the first half and remained in the locker room after halftime because of flu-like symptoms. Defensive coordinator John Papuchis took over the head-coaching duties in the third quarter.
Pelini didn't have to fret much about his team, which cruised to a 42-13 win against Arkansas State after claiming a 28-3 halftime lead. Despite missing top back Rex Burkhead (knee) for the second straight game, Nebraska had more than enough offensive firepower to overwhelm the Red Wolves.
I-back Ameer Abdullah (167 rush yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Kenny Bell (two TDs, 71 receiving yards) both had huge days, while quarterback Taylor Martinez completed his first eight pass attempts and finished 13-of-14 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns, adding 52 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Martinez's lone blunder came in the third quarter, when he was sacked and fumbled, and Arkansas State recovered for a touchdown.
While the offensive fireworks were nice, Nebraska really needed its defense to step up after allowing 653 yards to UCLA. The Huskers allowed yards and first downs (17) but made plays when it mattered and received contributions from several defensive backs, including P.J. Smith, Ciante Evans and Daimion Stafford. Nebraska had high hopes for its secondary despite the loss of All-Big Ten cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.
Saturday's effort is a step in the right direction as Big Ten play gets closer.
Check the blog later for updates on Pelini's health. Hoping the coach makes a speedy recovery.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State