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Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers at Oregon

10 September 2017

In Nebraska's season-opener, Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen often had the freedom to survey the Huskers' defensive look and decide whether to throw the ball or hand it off.

"They're pretty unflappable", Riley said.

Oregon sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert, under the direction of first-year head coach and play-caller Willie Taggart, will be put in some of the same situations Saturday afternoon against Nebraska at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

"It's nothing I can do, you know", Riley said.

Of course it also helped that the Ducks won. "I think you're going to have to rely on the character of your team to keep playing and that's all".

Against overmatched Southern Utah, the Ducks ran the ball 57 times and threw it 27, a 66 percent run rate.

A personal foul in the redzone almost derailed Oregon's next drive, but the Ducks got a big break on a deflected ball that resulted in a 21-yard gain on third-and-17, and they punched it in from there on a 1-yard dive by Freeman.

For Ohio State? They could run the table as well, including the Big Ten championship game, and feel relatively comfortable with its playoff positioning as such a run would include wins over Penn State, Michigan and whoever comes out of the West. The Ducks rushed for 348 yards and nine touchdowns, with senior Royce Freeman accounting for four of those scores.

Most new coaches don't have the luxury of inheriting an underclassman quarterback with star potential.

On Tuesday, Diaco called effective running a "hallmark" of Taggart's teams.

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The Huskers' defense stopped the Ducks on three straight plays and got their offense the ball back with 2:17 left in the game.

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. Taggart comes to Eugene after four seasons at South Florida, where he guided the Bulls from a 2-10 record his first year to a 10-2 mark last season.

Sophia, Ethan and Joe were special #StompOutCancer participants for Oregon's game against Nebraska Saturday, as the three kids not only attended the game but designed the latest Nike uniforms the Ducks wore against the Cornhuskers. Kani Benoit added three scores on 107 yards rushing.

"We saw way too much of him", Riley recalled of the 2014 outing.

It was Freeman, though, who probably felt like his junior year would never end. Offensive lineman David Knevel will likely miss the game with an injured ankle.

Nebraska's offense got off to a strong start to the second half, as Morgan came up with a 22-yard fourth-down conversion catch and then an 18-yard touchdown to cut to 42-21. "He can do a little bit of everything". Defeated. This time, though, Riley was coaching Nebraska instead of Oregon State. "Jordan and Austin are going to be big-time players for us".

His backups have been productive, as well.

-Tyler Hoppes' 35-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest catch of his career. OR turned to Herbert for a spark, starting him in favor of Prukop the next week against Washington.

Kalu went down on a deep pass attempt into the end zone in the second quarter and limped off. "We played around with one of them being a third-down back, but we just decided not to do that and just let Tre play".

Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers at Oregon