Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell have always been friends.
How could they not? They've bonded through four years of high and lows that come with being part of the Husker program. They've become two of the most recognizable names in the state. They've become social-media superstars — Bell has almost 67,000 Twitter followers, Abdullah has 57,000. They've become used to the spotlight — together.
That’s where they were Saturday late in the third quarter of Nebraska’s 42-24 win against Rutgers — together. They got into a sideline conversation about how fast their senior season was going.
“I got to really (soak it in) in the third quarter with Ameer,” Bell said. “No. 8 and I … we really have grown closer this year. … There was a point where I said, ‘It’s crazy to think we only have nine quarters left in Memorial Stadium. We were just like, ‘This is amazing.’ Just taking it in.”
Take it in. That’s what Bell tried to do in the fourth quarter after he caught his sixth reception. He needed six to get to 167 and become Nebraska’s all-time receptions leader, surpassing Nate Swift.
A few moments later, he left the game to a standing ovation.
A few moments after that, he was giving a speech to his teammates in the locker room.
What’d he say?
“That I love them and appreciate them,” Bell said. “I’m extremely blessed to be playing with such a great group of guys that support and love me. … I got pretty emotional. I really appreciate those guys. Every single one of them. Starting with the linemen on offense, defense, special teams, a guy that just walked on and made it.”
Bell will likely set another record next week against Purdue. After adding 63 yards Saturday, he needs just 7 to pass Johnny Rodgers as NU's all-time leader in receiving yards.
“That’s pretty amazing,” he said. “Swifty is an unbelievable guy. I've gotten the opportunity to meet him quite a few times and, obviously, everybody loves Johnny Rodgers. As far as the numbers, yeah, it’s cool, but I’d much rather be remembered for the type of person I am, and how I treat people, and the relationships I've made here at this university.”
One of those relationships has been with Abdullah, who set his own record Saturday by piling up 341 all-purpose yards, the most by a Husker in a single game, bettering Roy Helu’s 321 against Missouri in 2010.
“Of course, Ameer Abdullah has to break a record in the same game,” Bell joked.
All in good fun. Abdullah was as happy as anybody for the senior receiver.
“He’s my best friend here and I’m proud of him,” Abdullah said. “So, hopefully, he’s going to watch this interview and hear my shoutout.”
There isn't much time to reflect on records in the midst of a season, but Bell guessed he’d be crying in January when he doesn't get to wear the "N" on his helmet anymore.
He’s trying best he can to soak up his final games as a Husker. All the better to share the experience with a friend.
“I listened to Quincy Enunwa. I listened to Will Compton talk about appreciating every minute,” Bell said. “It’s going to go. It’s slipping by unbelievably fast. It’s saddening, because I've had so much fun. … I love everything about Husker football — the highs and lows.
"It’s been an amazing ride for me.”