World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon takes a look at the top 10 offensive plays of the first half for Nebraska.
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10. A simple option play vs. South Dakota State: Tommy Armstrong put any worries about his quarterbacking skills to rest quickly by leading NU to a touchdown on its opening drive against the Jackrabbits. The drive ended in a nice option pitch from Armstrong to Imani Cross, who scored from 5 yards out.
9. Ron Kellogg's third-down strike vs Purdue: Offensive coordinator Tim Beck calls the fifth-year quarterback “the perfect backup.” But his 23-yard fireball post pass to Jordan Westerkamp — which set up NU's second touchdown — was every bit a starter's best throw.
8. Armstrong finds Sam Burtch for a 16-yard touchdown vs. South Dakota State: Though Armstrong had a more open receiver over the middle, he chose the fade route to Burtch, and the Elmwood-Murdock walk-on made a fine catch for the score.
7. Ameer Abdullah's 62-yard run vs. Wyoming: He picked the wrong hole, he said afterward. Not that there was anything wrong with the result: a gallop up the east sideline that set up a Husker touchdown in a shootout.
6. Cross' 31-yard touchdown run vs. Wyoming: The big man can spin! Questions about Cross' ability to back up Abdullah were answered quickly in the season opener, as he did a 720 — two spins against a Cowboy defender — on his way to the end zone.
5. Taylor Martinez's 22-yard loft to Kenny Bell vs. UCLA: The regular starting quarterback threw a long, impossibly high fade pass to Bell, who faced good coverage. The ball landed right in Bell's breadbasket. It's the last great play Martinez made this fall.
4. Abdullah's 37-yard touchdown run vs. Southern Miss: The Husker I-back took a handoff from Martinez, worked around two Golden Eagle defensive linemen, turned hard to his left on a dime and bolted upfield through the defense to the end zone. It was Abdullah's best cut of the year.
3. Quincy Enunwa's 35-yard rampage through Purdue: On third down, the wide receiver caught a slant pass from Kellogg. He then busted and spun his way for an extra 20 yards through the Boilermaker secondary for a big gain.
2. Abdullah's 43-yard touchdown run vs Illinois: A team effort, as Abdullah took a well-timed option pitch from Armstrong, followed an explosive pull block from guard Jake Cotton, broke a tackle at midfield and used a good block by Bell to bolt to the end zone for a key score.
1. Bell's 37-yard showstopping catch-and-score vs. Illinois: Nebraska's most identifiable receiver made his most memorable catch — and best offensive play in our midseason review — when he stuck his right hand up to tip an off-target Armstrong pass, caught it instead, and in one motion landed in stride and ran to the end zone. The catch appears so graceful that it nearly looks like a trick. But it was real, the best play in a career stuffed with them.