After magical moment, Husker QBs go back to work

2013-11-04T20:30:00Z After magical moment, Husker QBs go back to workBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star

Ron Kellogg doesn't know what he was thinking when he ran the other way from the team party, helmet off, sprinting on clouds, doing his best Jim Valvano impersonation.

“I blacked out,” Kellogg said. “As soon as I heard the crowd, I just ran. I saw the people jumping on (Jordan) Westerkamp, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of that.’ So I just ran away from that.”

The senior quarterback from Omaha ran into a Husker moment that will replay on the big screen at Memorial Stadium until he's an old man.

Two days after throwing the game-winning, 49-yard Hail Mary to beat Northwestern, Kellogg was still hearing about it from just about everyone he met.

“If I didn't want to watch it, people were showing it to me,” Kellogg said. “People said I ran a 4.1. I didn't even know I could run that fast.”

The affable quarterback was in a humorous mood about the fame that has come with the play.

It was big enough that it was ESPN’s top play of the day on "SportsCenter," something that didn't escape his attention.

“SportsCenter said I was built like a long snapper but had a rocket for an arm,” Kellogg said.

He said it with a smile. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound quarterback even found the humor in his favorite name for the play – “Husky Hail Mary.”

“There was a big ordeal of how I looked in my rib protector, how I looked like I was 280 (pounds),” Kellogg said.

He recevied tweets from Larry the Cable Guy, and actress and Husker fan Gabrielle Union.

And about that postgame hug on the field with fellow senior Taylor Martinez? Kellogg joked it lasted 35 minutes.

“It was a total bromance moment,” Kellogg said. “We've been friends for a long time, roommates. He just told me that it was a play that he’ll probably never forget and he was glad we were such close friends.”

An emotional Martinez?

“Yeah ... isn't that weird?” Kellogg joked some more.

Later, striking a serious note, Kellogg said the bond that he and Martinez share is one he knows you wouldn't see everywhere, considering it’s two guys competing for the same job.

“I think we don’t care who plays. We all want success,” Kellogg said. “In some programs, you could see a big quarterback controversy but we don’t treat it like that. Whoever can get the job done and get momentum going for the team is obviously who we want out there. So there’s no hard feelings or anything like that about it.”

Saturday’s moment is one Kellogg couldn't have seen coming as he watched almost all of the second half from the sideline.

After two unsuccessful series, and one interception, Kellogg did not expect to get called back into the game with 1:14 left and the end zone 83 yards away.

“Coaches said, ‘Go ahead and warm up,’” Kellogg said. “I went, ‘What? I've been standing here for who knows how many minutes.' But if they have the confidence to throw me out there, I might as well do what they want me to do.”

It will be a drive forever remembered by Kellogg.

But during the course of a season, there's little time to dwell on such moments.

“We’re all on a high off of what happened on Saturday but we all know we have another game against a good Michigan opponent,” Kellogg said.

And the Nebraska offense will have to perform better than it did in the second half against Northwestern.

The unit would not have produced a touchdown in the final half if not for the Kellogg-to-Westerkamp connection as time expired.

Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong showed flashes in the option game, particularly on the game’s first drive, when Nebraska drove down the field for a touchdown.

But he struggled in the passing game, not dealing well with Northwestern's blitzes, throwing three interceptions for the second time this season.

That hasn't changed Bo Pelini’s take on Nebraska’s quarterback situation, though. He said Armstrong is the starter as of now, with Kellogg ready to back him up.

Armstrong now wants to bring some of his first-series success – NU has scored touchdowns on the first drives of all four games he's started – to the entire game.

What’d Armstrong see in his film review of the interceptions?

“Some of those were just my mistakes, and some of those were just having young guys out there,” he said. “We've got to fix that.”

Armstrong said it helps his mindset that coaches have kept with him even after some bad series.

“They just always want me to stay level-headed,” Armstrong said. “My coach always tells me, '(Mistakes) are going to happen. It’s just how you respond.' It was a rough second half for me. I just want to go a full game without having those bumps and bruises in a game.”

Armstrong said it helps having a veteran like Kellogg to lean on.

“Honestly, he means a lot,” he said. “He’s like a big brother to me. ... After he leaves, it’s probably going to be like a hole in the meeting room just because Ron’s that person that’s always outgoing and loud.”

And, on one special Saturday, that outgoing quarterback got to run around the field like a madman as the crowd roared.

“Something not too many people can say they've done in a lifetime,” Kellogg said.

After the game, Kellogg said Pelini walked past him and said one word: Wow.

Kellogg couldn't think of the right words to say, so he repeated the same thing: Wow.

“He’s about winning and doing whatever he can in whatever role we ask him to be in to help our football team win,” Pelini said. “And that’s not easy to do. Especially in this society today, which is kind of an ‘I’ society, what can you do for me? He’s what you look for in a teammate. I’m happy for him.”

Reach Brian Christopherson at or 402-473-7439. Follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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