OR rides explosive first half to 42-35 win over Nebraska
10 September, 2017, 15:39 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
"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.
The first half had the feel of a blowout, with the Sooners outgaining the Buckeyes 222-92; the scoreboard, however, read just 3-3 after two quarters.
On Nebraska's first play from scrimmage, receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. bobbled and lost control of a pass from Lee, and Tyree Robinson intercepted the ball and returned it 35 yards to the Nebraska 20-yard line.
The Huskers opened 2017 with a much more competitive game than Oregon.
The Huskers got a big break when they recovered a fumble deep in OR territory, and running back Mikale Wilbon capped it off with a three-yard touchdown to make it 42-35 with 2:47 to go.
In what seemed like an offensive first-quarter battle, OR scored again making it 21-7. Freeman had four of them.
Nebraska, trailing 35-14, took possession with 2:40 remaining, but Graham intercepted Lee on a third-and-15 pass, giving OR the ball at the Huskers' 34-yard line.
Nebraska head coach Mike Riley summarized OR on Monday as "lots of yardage, lots of points".
"The quarterback broke in past year", Riley said. That capped a 10-play, 95-yard drive in which Lee also completed a 23-yard pass to JD Spielman for 23 yards. The Huskers offense, though, went three-and-out and punted to OR, which took possession with 10:10 remaining until halftime.
New quarterback Tanner Lee threw for two scores and no interceptions in his Nebraska debut, but forced a few throws as well. The Ducks were then able to run out the clock and come away with a 42-35 victory.
Are they the "swag surfin'" juggernaut we saw in the first half? "This is about the Nebraska team playing the Ducks, but it is fun for me", Riley said.
"They settled down and started doing the right things", Leavitt said of the young players. "And then, just really, really let it get out of hand". Coach Mike Riley has beaten the Ducks once in Eugene - in 2007.
New defensive coordinator Bob Diaco also noted the defensive struggle the Blackshirts encountered in the first half, but was quick to praise the efforts they made in the second half.
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