As we look back at 2013 in Nebraska football, it's time to consider the Most Valuable Player for the Big Red. We won't go nearly as deep as with the other categories, mostly because three players jump out.
The Nebraska I-back earned all-Big Ten honors in 2013, and was the ninth leading rusher with 1,690 yards on the season. The yards per carry average was solid at 6.0, though he only scored nine touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for 232 yards, and two of those catches were key to victories over Northwestern and Michigan. On fourth and 15, Abdullah caught a screen pass and somehow broke three tackles to get 16 yards against the Wildcats. And that dive into the end zone against Michigan was highlight reel material. (His long run against Penn State would have as well, if the referees wouldn't have thrown that ticky-tack penalty on Sam Burtch...)
The cornerback/nickel back was Nebraska's most versatile defender the last two seasons. After getting snubbed in 2012, he earned all-Big Ten honors in 2013. He totalled 45 tackles this season, and led the secondary with 11 tackles for loss, which was an all-time high for a defensive back at Nebraska.
(Note: you may want to mute the audio, or at least turn it down. This is one of those highlight videos that someone decided to add a unnecessary, distracting audio track to.)
Probably Nebraska's most unsung hero this season, he was solid at safety. He led the Huskers with 91 tackles this season, and seemed to always rate a positive mention in the CN weekly report card. He probably won't win this award, but I though he definitely earned a mention here.
Nobody quite knew what to expect from Gregory going into the season, though we quickly got a good idea in the season opener:
Seriously, that was a penalty? As a part-time starter much of the season, he accounted for 66 tackles from the defensive end position, 19 for loss. More importantly, he had 18 quarterback hurries on the season. He's still got some work to do defending the run, but a full offseason training in Lincoln should only help him have a monster 2014.
So who gets your vote for MVP in 2013?