Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Willie Taggart: Oregon lacked urgency in second half

Loren Elliott | Times Loren Elliott | Times
Lillian Steele | 10 September, 2017, 15:35

This week, OR was up 42-14 on Nebraska at the half and almost blew its lead.

The Blackshirts, meanwhile, forced two turnovers and other turnover on downs to redeem themselves from a first half in which OR (2-0) amassed 409 yards and scored 21 straight points to close the second quarter. The ball was recovered by Nebraska at the 22-yard line with a little less than five minutes remaining.

But on the first play from scrimmage, OR cornerback Uguchukwu Amadi intercepted Nebraska junior quarterback Tanner Lee, whose arm was hit as he threw.

It's also a testament to how Riley has impacted 'Husker Nation. The Ducks rushed for 348 yards and nine touchdowns, with senior Royce Freeman accounting for four of those scores.

OR marched down the field on the opening drive of the game and scored on a 32-yard pass play from quarterback Justin Herbert to Brenden Schooler in the back of the end zone. Freeman had a 28-yard run in the drive.

The Huskers are going to be able to move the football against Oregon. But Lee was picked off on his first throw of the drive, and Nebraska fell to 1-1 on the season.

Nebraska then put together a 10-play, 95-yard drive to answer the Ducks.

Last year, USF rolled up 316 yards and four scores.

The Ducks scored 21 unanswered points to end the first half, racking up huge offensive numbers.

Riley listed Autzen Stadium among the five "toughest environments I've coached in", a list that also included B.C. Place from his time in the Canadian Football League and the Superdome and Arrowhead Stadium in the NFL.

The Huskers' defense stopped the Ducks on three straight plays and got their offense the ball back with 2:17 left in the game. "But they're still going to take their shots down the field and do what they do". From there, it was all OR ball. Four plays later Charles Nelson capped of the drive with a score giving OR the 14-0 lead.

But the first-half scoring binge Diaco's defense allowed proved decisive. Nelson had six receptions for 106 yards before halftime and finished with eight for 117. Or are they the unfocused group we saw in the second half? While the Ducks lead in this one, this touchdown pass from Tanner Lee to De'Mornay Pierson-El was pretty sweet. Steven Montez threw a touchdown pass and ran in another score for Colorado.

The Huskers opened 2017 with a much more competitive game than Oregon.

"It's exciting to do that", Riley said of a return to Oregon.

OR punched Nebraska in the mouth from the opening whistle.

Nebraska won the toss and deferred to the second half. Tyler Hoppes added 40 yards in three receptions.

Nebraska force a punt on the fifth scoreless series before the fumble on the sixth series that set up the only touchdown of the fourth quarter. It's really weird that all of a sudden right off the bat when I get to Nebraska, we have a home-and-home with Oregon. Nebraska now leads the all-time series against OR, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Nebraska gets the Northern Illinois Huskies in Week 3.

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