- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Rutgers coach Kyle Flood knew it would be difficult for his team to come out of the toughest part of its inaugural Big Ten schedule unscathed.

A week after losing big at Ohio State, the Scarlet Knights lost 42-24 at No. 16 Nebraska on Saturday and head into next week’s game against Wisconsin with questions at quarterback.

Gary Nova injured his right knee when he landed hard while getting tackled on the second-to-last play of the first half. Redshirt freshman Chris Laviano played the rest of the game.

“We’re disappointed that we’re 0-2 if you look at it from a two-game perspective,” said Flood, whose team was outscored 98-41 by the Buckeyes and Cornhuskers.

“I think we’ve come out of it a better football team. I think just from the experience of it, going on the road and playing some of the best teams in the country, we’re going to be a better football team.”

Flood said it would take a couple of days to determine the extent of Nova’s injury.

Laviano, who had appeared in two games and thrown four passes before Saturday, was 4 of 7 for 49 yards. He broke a couple of long scrambles and finished with a team-high 54 yards on five carries.

“We lost, so I think there was a little bit more I could have done to contribute to the offense on certain drives,” Laviano said. “We can’t kick field goals; we have to score touchdowns, especially when we were down in the second half. I just need to work on some things in order to play better and give the team the spark it needs.”

The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 1-3 Big Ten) struggled to control Ameer Abdullah, who nudged his way back into the Heisman Trophy conversation by running for 225 yards and three touchdowns and setting a school record with 341 all-purpose yards.

“Every time I step on the field, whether practice or games, I’m always creating memories here,” Abdullah said. “These are always things I’m going to remember, coming here and playing football for this great university.”

The Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1) reached the halfway point of conference play tied with Minnesota for first in the West Division, but coach Bo Pelini was in no mood to celebrate.

Abdullah ran for 149 yards and two long touchdowns in the first half. He hit the right corner hard, put a move on safety Lorenzo Waters and continued on for a 53-yard TD.

On the next series, Abdullah went left for 48 yards to put the Huskers in front 21-7.

Abdullah broke a 49-yard run on the first play of the second half to start a series that ended with Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s short TD pass to Sam Cotton. After Kyle Federico’s 41-yard field goal for Rutgers, Abdullah ran back the kickoff 76 yards to set up a short scoring drive.

“Once he gets through the first level he does a good job of bursting,” Rutgers defensive lineman David Milewski said. “If you’re able to slow him down before he gets to that, then you can do a good job of holding him up. If he finds a gap, he puts his foot in the ground and gets upfield faster than a lot of backs.”

Abdullah moved from fourth to second on the Big Ten’s career all-purpose yards list. His 6,604 yards are 825 behind the 7,429 by Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne.

The Knights generated 160 yards in the first quarter, with 71 coming on Leone Carroo’s catch-and-run for a touchdown.

Desmon Peoples and Robert Martin had short touchdown runs for the Knights after the Huskers had broken the game open.

Rutgers, which lost its eighth straight game against a Top 25 opponent, played the first half without wide receivers Janarion Grant and Andre Patton, who were suspended for violating team rules.

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