Published Monday, December 2, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:48 pm
FOOTBALL
Hail to old reliable Ameer Abdullah, new force Randy Gregory

LINCOLN — Junior Ameer Abdullah, the leader of Nebraska's depleted offense, was not named the Big Ten's best running back Monday, but he and two other Huskers made the all-conference first-team.

League coaches and media members selected Abdullah and sophomore Randy Gregory as first-teamers. Senior Ciante Evans was one of six defensive backs on the coaches' first team.

The Big Ten announced most of its end-of-the-year awards during a special hourlong show on BTN on Monday afternoon. Eleven Nebraska players were honored in some fashion, though no Husker had a better chance at earning a position-specific award than Abdullah.

But the conference chose Ohio State's Carlos Hyde — the explosive ball carrier who has, at times, carried the league's best offense — as the winner of the 2013 Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year.

Hyde leads the Big Ten with 143.3 rushing yards per game, scoring 14 touchdowns.

Abdullah, though, wasn't too far behind, averaging about 10 fewer all-purpose yards per game than Hyde. Abdullah surpassed the 100-yard mark in 10 games, too, despite Nebraska's injury issues on the offensive line, at receiver and at quarterback.

Abdullah has more rushing yards (1,568) than any Big Ten player this year. That single-season total ranks fifth all-time in Nebraska history.

But Abdullah, known as a guy who first promotes the team, deflected the praise Monday.

“I have to give credit to the relentless play of our offensive line and the rest of my teammates on offense,” Abdullah said in a press release. “Any success I've had or honors I receive would not be possible without my teammates and coaches. It is a great honor, but my main focus is on trying to finish off this season strong in our bowl game.”

Gregory and Evans were two of the most consistent playmakers on the other side of the ball for NU this season.

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Gregory leads the Big Ten with 9Ĺ sacks — he's already set a record for the most sacks by a newcomer at Nebraska. Gregory's total of 15Ĺ tackles for loss is the second-best in the conference. He's also credited with 17 quarterback hurries.

Evans, one of four NU captains, has recorded 11 tackles for loss, the most ever by a Nebraska defensive back. All 11 of those stops behind the line of scrimmage came in Big Ten action. He has nine pass breakups this year and four interceptions.

“There's a lot of great defensive players and defensive backs in the conference, so it is a great honor to be selected to the All-Big Ten team,” Evans said in a press release. “I'm not out there playing for awards. My goal is always just to be part of a team effort and provide leadership for the young guys on our defense.”

There were other NU players recognized Monday as well.

Senior cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste made both of the second teams while the coaches voted senior offensive lineman Cole Pensick to the all-conference second team.

Senior defensive end Jason Ankrah, junior receiver Kenny Bell, senior offensive lineman Andrew Rodriguez, senior offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles, junior safety Corey Cooper and senior kicker Pat Smith earned honorable mention.

Senior Quincy Enunwa, who's tied for the second-most touchdown receptions in the Big Ten with 10, was a notable snub.

Senior fullback C.J. Zimmerer was chosen as Nebraska's Sportsmanship honoree.

* * *

First-team offense
Position, Coaches selection, Media selection
Quarterback, Braxton Miller, Ohio State, Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Running Back, Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska, Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Running Back, Carlos Hyde, Ohio State, Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Receiver, Allen Robinson, Penn State, Allen Robinson, Penn State
Receiver, Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin, Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
Center, Corey Linsley, Ohio State, Corey Linsley, Ohio State
Guard, John Urschel, Penn State, Andrew Norwell, Ohio State
Guard, Ryan Groy, Wisconsin, John Urschel, Penn State
Tackle, Brandon Scherff, Iowa, Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Tackle, Taylor Lewan, Michigan, Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
Tight End, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa, Devin Funchess, Michigan
Kicker, Jeff Budzien, Northwestern, Jeff Budzien, Northwestern

Second-Team offense
Position, Coaches selection, Media selection
Quarterback, Connor Cook, Michigan State, Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
Running Back, Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Running Back, James White, Wisconsin, James White, Wisconsin
Receiver, Jeremy Gallon, Michigan, Cody Latimer, Indiana
Receiver, Corey Brown, Ohio State, Jeremy Gallon, Michigan
Center, Cole Pensick, Nebraska, Jack Allen, Michigan State
Guard, Blake Treadwell, Michigan State, Blake Treadwell, Michigan State
Guard, Andrew Norwell, Ohio State, Ryan Groy, Wisconsin
Tackle, Brett Van Sloten, Iowa, Brandon Scherff, Iowa
Tackle, Jack Mewhort, Ohio State, Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
Tight End, Devin Funchess, Michigan, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
Kicker, Mitch Ewald, Indiana, Mike Meyer, Iowa

First-team defense
Position, Coaches selection, Media selection
Line, Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State, Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
Line, Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota, Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
Line, Randy Gregory, Nebraska, Randy Gregory, Nebraska
Line, DaQuan Jones, Penn State, Noah Spence, Ohio State
Linebacker, Max Bullough, Michigan State, Max Bullough, Michigan State
Linebacker, Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Linebacker, Chris Borland, Wisconsin, Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Defensive Back, Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State*, B.J. Lowery, Iowa
Defensive Back, Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State*, Blake Countess, Michigan
Defensive Back, Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State*, Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Defensive Back, Brock Vereen, Minnesota*, Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Defensive Back, Ciante Evans, Nebraska*,
Defensive Back, Bradley Roby, Ohio State*,
Punter, Mike Sadler, Michigan State*, Cody Webster, Purdue
Punter, Cody Webster, Purdue*,
* Additional players due to ties

Second-team defense
Position, Coaches selection, Media selection
Line, Carl Davis, Iowa, Theiren Cockran, Minnesota
Line, Frank Clark, Michigan, Tyler Scott, Northwestern
Line, Michael Bennett, Ohio State, Michael Bennett, Ohio State
Line, Noah Spence, Ohio State, DaQuan Jones, Penn State
Linebacker, Anthony Hitchens, Iowa, Jonathan Brown, Illinois
Linebacker, James Morris, Iowa, James Morris, Iowa
Linebacker, Denicos Allen, Michigan State, Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Defensive Back, Blake Countess, Michigan#, Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
Defensive Back, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska#, Ciante Evans, Nebraska
Defensive Back, , Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
Defensive Back, , Ricardo Allen, Purdue
Punter, , Mike Sadler, Michigan State
# Coaches second team was reduced due to additional first-team honorees

Individual Award winners
Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year: Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year: Allen Robinson, Penn State
Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year: Devin Funchess, Michigan
Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year: Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year: Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Jeff Budzien, Northwestern
Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: Cody Webster, Purdue

Contact the writer: Jon Nyatawa

jon.nyatawa@owh.com    |   402-473-9585    |  

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football and baseball, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008.

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