Published Monday, November 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm / Updated at 4:55 pm
Kaipust: Husker QB Kellogg's rise to instant fame remains a blur

LINCOLN — It was a blur Saturday as Ron Kellogg took in the Memorial Stadium mayhem, which Kellogg attributed to both the crazy finish and the knee that he took to the head after launching his Hail Mary pass to Jordan Westerkamp.

The Nebraska quarterback left his helmet at midfield. Ran aimlessly in the wrong direction.

“I don't know where he was going,” NU coach Bo Pelini said.

The blur, however, was just starting, really, and had barely worn off as Kellogg tried to describe the rest of his life-changing weekend Monday.

There were more than 250 text messages coming in Saturday night, and he hardly made a dent in the responses before it became unrealistic to go on. There were over 1,000 Twitter messages, from actress Gabrielle Union and comedian Larry the Cable Guy and numerous people he didn't know.

He found out his dad almost got kicked out of a Buffalo Wild Wings for screaming after the 49-yard touchdown gave Nebraska its improbable 27-24 win over Northwestern.

And he maybe finally realized the extent of what had happened when he watched the replay on SportsCenter, complete with an ESPN anchor saying he had a rocket for an arm but the build of a long-snapper.

“I'll have to talk to him later about that,” said Kellogg, trying to explain that the rib protector under his jersey is to blame for his, um, physique. “I didn't really agree with what he said.”

That Kellogg was discussing such stuff was something of a Hail Mary in itself. It was the kind of instant fame and attention that rarely come to a fifth-year senior who didn't go on scholarship until August and started the season No. 3 on the depth chart.

“I still can't believe it myself,” Kellogg said.

If this was Kellogg's 15 minutes of fame, though, he was going to enjoy it — and he peppered it Monday with good humor and a host of one-liners.

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“I mean, he goes by RKIII. You know?” NU receiver Quincy Enunwa said. “That just tells you about his personality.”

Some of the best Monday from Kellogg:

Ľ On Husker graduate assistant Joe Ganz trying to keep up after Kellogg sprinted to the north end zone as his teammates celebrated at the south end: “He was trying to chase me, but I was outrunning Joe. I didn't even know I was faster than Joe.”

Ľ On his postgame hug with Taylor Martinez, that Kellogg said seemed “like 35 minutes” after Martinez got down to the field: “It was a total bro-mance moment.”

Ľ On throwing the ball about 57 yards to give the last play a chance: “I literally put everything I had into the pass, that I knocked my own self over.”

Ľ On why he never joined the Husker dogpile: “My whole mentality was to run away from the pile, because I'm kind of claustrophobic, and that wouldn't have been good for me to be underneath the pile like that.”

Ľ On how Westerkamp celebrated: “He actually went home and did his accounting homework after the game.”

Kellogg said the Twitter conversation included someone saying he appeared to weigh 280 pounds. Kellogg even replied to Union, an Omaha native, after she kiddingly said he looked like “Byron Leftwich's long-lost twin brother.”

Husker fan Larry the Cable Guy simply told Kellogg that he nearly gave him a heart attack.

Kellogg seemed to be having trouble processing it all Saturday night. The Omaha Westside graduate almost had a blank look on his face as he made his way through cheering Husker fans to the doors of the NU locker room.

Somewhere over the weekend Kellogg thought back to the words of Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who told him last summer to be patient and stay ready. With Martinez out three of the previous four games, it already had resulted in more playing time than Kellogg had ever seen before as he handled the quarterback duties with Tommy Armstrong.

People had told him before that he could have left, tried to play somewhere else, but it was never a consideration.

“It's something I wanted to finish, for the long haul,” Kellogg said. “Whether I played or not, I was a part of something.”

It was something big Saturday night. Bigger than he ever could have imagined.

Now it's just time for everything to get back to normal as Nebraska prepares for Michigan this week. Almost as if that's what he was being reminded as his helmet somehow mysteriously was back where it belonged later Saturday.

“Someone picked it up and put it in front of my locker,” Kellogg said. “I didn't care about it at the time.”

* * *

Video: Nebraska quarterback Ron Kellogg during Monday's press conference

Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini during Monday's press conference

Video: Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp during Monday's press conference

Video: Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah during Monday's press conference

Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

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