LINCOLN, Neb. – Ameer Abdullah ran for a career-high 232 yards, Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for a career-high 271 yards and two TDs, and No. 22 Nebraska defeated Florida Atlantic 55-7 Saturday.
The Cornhuskers rushed for 498 of their 784 total yards and won their 29th straight opener, the longest streak in the nation.
Abdullah had 178 yards by halftime while becoming the eighth Nebraska player to go over 3,000 yards rushing in a career. Terrell Newby added 107 yards rushing.
Florida Atlantic, with first-year coach Charlie Partridge, was paid $1 million to visit Lincoln and will get another $1 million for playing at No. 2 Alabama next week. The Owls of Conference USA went 75 yards on their first series to tie it at 7, but they gained just 51 more before Nebraska's defense began freely substituting after the third quarter.
About the only negative for Nebraska was the loss of star defensive end Randy Gregory, who went out with a left leg injury in the first quarter and was in street clothes for the second half.
Abdullah's best run came in the second quarter when he broke through the line and sidestepped cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc on his way to a 47-yard touchdown. It was among his nine runs of 10 yards or longer.
Jay Warren led the Owls with 77 yards rushing, and Jaquez Johnson and Greg Hankerson combined to go 11 of 30 for 95 yards.
The Huskers were penalized six times for 60 yards in the first half, but that didn't stop them from scoring on their first five possessions. Armstrong finished the Huskers' opening, 86-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, and he threw TD passes of 36 yards to Jordan Westerkamp and 8 yards to De'Mornay Pierson-El.
Westerkamp had seven catches for 125 yards and Kenny Bell four for 116 for the Huskers. Westerkamp made the catch of the game when he put his hands behind his back to snag a tipped pass along the sideline. The 16-yard play on a third-and-6 kept alive a drive that put the Huskers up 38-7.
Armstrong, who completed 15 of 29 passes, finished with 333 yards of total offense and was relieved by Ryker Fyfe late in the third quarter.
The game originally was billed the Pelini Bowl because it was to have matched Nebraska coach Bo Pelini against his brother, former FAU coach Carl Pelini. But Carl Pelini was forced out with four games left last season amid allegations of drug use, which Carl denied. Offensive coordinator Brian Wright led the Owls to four straight wins and a 6-6 finish as interim coach. Partridge retained Wright as offensive coordinator.