No ducking OR attack for Blackshirts

Oregon’s defense struggled last season when the Ducks went 4-8. OR rattled off 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 42-14 lead into halftime but didn’t score after the break.

First things first and the injury situation. The game is scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on FOX.

Though it will be tough, Nebraska has the football talent to pull off a come-from-behind win in Eugene over the Ducks.

Lee had and up-and-down day, finishing his first road game as a Husker 19 for 41 with 252 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Chalk it up to play calling. There’s some third downs I really could’ve got into and made the throw.

When asked what it meant for him to have his head coach stick up for him like that, OR quarterback Justin Herbert said it was appreciated.

After the Ducks put up a gaudy 409 yards of offense in the first half, Nebraska held OR to 157.

After two games, Nebraska is no different than maybe 80 percent of FBS programs – hoping that the warts disappear and a butterfly emerges from the cocoon.

The difference in success was so striking – the Blackshirts allowed 409 total yards and 42 points before halftime, 157 and 0 after – the game’s tenor change so radical, that what else could explain it?

For those checking out the battle on the line of scrimmage, you saw the Cornhuskers bull their necks at halftime and stymie Oregon’s young offensive line.

Nebraska cornerback Lamar Jackson said that on top of the Ducks’ big plays throughout the half, the Cornhuskers had trouble keeping up with Oregon’s tempo in a man defense. Herbert threw for Ryan Bay up the right side, but the pass fell incomplete.

Nebraska climbed within two scores midway through the third quarter, with the rest of the half to catch up.

Diaco’s defense slowed the OR roll in the third quarter, and the Huskers continued to get opportunities to cut the lead to one possession. The Huskers’ next drive – with 2:17 left – was stopped when Lee was picked off by Ugochukwo Amadi. The Huskers had an estimated 10,000 fans – perhaps more – inside Autzen Stadium, comprising almost 20 percent of the crowd.

The defensive coaches continue to do a great job as evidenced by the play of the Ducks and their pursuit on the field. “The Ducks opened this season with a homegrown passer, and on Saturday, that passer, 6″ 6”, 225-pound true sophomore Justin Herbert, was the biggest difference in a 42-35 win over Nebraska at Autzen Stadium that pushed OR to 2-0 in head coach Willie Taggart’s first season in charge. In previous years, less quarterback and more running back.

Nebraska may have lost two key players after Saturday’s game, but coach Mike Riley isn’t sure yet what the prognosis for safety Joshua Kalu and running back Tre Bryant might be.

OR punched Nebraska in the mouth from the opening whistle.

Credit the defensive front seven for a consistent pass rush that included creative pressure at times (not counting the double secondary blitz screw-up, of course). “He learned in the game, in the second half he learned in the second half”. “But they’re still going to take their shots down the field and do what they do”. Then, a five-game stretch of Washington State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, and Washington will sort out how good this team will be in the interim. He managed the Colorado defense’s psyche through blowout after blowout during a much more substantial rehab. While Nebraska beat Oregon a year ago, as coach of Oregon State the Corvallis native lost 10 of 14 games to the Ducks, including six of seven at Autzen Stadium.

Pierson-El didn’t return any punts against Oregon.

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