In the third quarter, the No. 22 Nebraska football team had the game well at hand, up 31-7 against Florida Atlantic.
With 12:54 left in the quarter, sophomore quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. connected with his roommate, sophomore receiver Jordan Westerkamp, for one of the most talked about 16-yard passing plays in school history.
Armstrong set back and threw a dart just above an Owl defender on the sideline, who bats it behind him where Westerkamp then catches the ball behind his back.
It was the kind of play that the Harlem Globetrotters pull off constantly, but Westerkamp has never attempted it.
“We don’t practice that,” Westerkamp said. “I don’t really know what to say about it. It was just a lucky play.”
The catch even made Armstrong Jr. pause for a moment and was shocked Westerkamp had the concentration to make such a play.
“It was incredible,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t think that he caught until I actually saw him put down two steps after he grabbed it behind his back.”
Although it was a play that only contributed to 16 of the 784 total yards in the game, a Big Ten record, it was one of the main highlights in the Huskers 55-7 win against Florida Atlantic.
Heading into the game, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was hoping to execute at every phase of the game, and even though it was a blowout, there wasn’t complete satisfaction felt by the seventh-year head coach.
“I saw a lot of good things out there, and I saw a lot of things we’re going to need to clean up and get fixed,” Pelini said. “I think we’ve got to dissect this tape and look at where we are.”
Leading the team in the game was senior running back Ameer Abdullah.
Abdullah was taken out during the third quarter and still managed to set his career-high in yards with 232 yards on the ground along with a touchdown.
Following the game, Pelini said it was no surprise that the senior captain had a motor that kept on going.
“He’s special,” Pelini said. “I’ve been saying it. He can run inside, run outside. He’s a special player.”
The offense was relentless in the game, but there was some concern on the defensive side of the ball after the first drive. After the Owls opening drive, the only possession where they scored a touchdown, junior defensive end Randy Gregory had to exit the game.
The All-American was in street clothes later in the game, which didn’t warrant any caution tape, according to Pelini. He said that Gregory could’ve come back into the game, but they chose to keep the defensive lineman out instead, and list him as day-to-day.
On the other side of the defensive line was sophomore Greg McMullen, who didn’t want to give up after losing Gregory early in a game that was tied.
“When first-team, All-American Randy Gregory goes down, it is a big concern because that is a critical part of our defensive line and also one of our leaders,” McMullen said. “But when you’re a competitor in this sport, stuff is going to happen.”
Up next on the slate is a home matchup against McNeese State next Saturday at 11 a.m., and the team is focused on their bout with them after going straight through Florida Atlantic.
“We beat Florida Atlantic, but let’s take it with a grain of salt,” McMullen said “There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed. We start preparation for next week.
“The reality is on the film, so we will watch it and get better.”