Huskers fall to Ducks despite big second half

Oregon coach Willie Taggart center throws the

Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers at Oregon

Next week, pack your oxygen for a hike up to 7,200 feet and a meeting with a Wyoming team that just might not be as good as advertised before the season.

Though halfway across the country, Nebraska and OR do have a history on the field. OR has the ball and the lead with less than 2 minutes left.

At halftime, the Oregon Duck mascot went to midfield, where he crushed the word "Cancer".

Tanner Lee threw his fourth interception on the ensuing drive, and OR ran out the clock to move to 2-0 on the season. The second half began with a seven-play drive that ended with a six-yard rushing touchdown by true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins that gave OSU a 10-3 lead.

OR punched Nebraska in the mouth from the opening whistle. Ducks lead 42-28. However, Lee threw four interceptions as well. "This is about the Nebraska team playing the Ducks, but it is fun for me", Riley said. He veered to the sideline to catch the kick, cut all the way across the field, juked punter Eric Williams and sprinted the final few yards to give the Huskies a 21-7 lead.

OR freshman cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. intercepted Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee twice and finished with six solo tackles.

The Cornhuskers were down 42-14 at halftime but rallied with three unanswered touchdowns. The Ducks will take what's given, but are also committed to dictating.

The last time Riley visited Autzen for the 2013 regular-season finale, Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass with 26 seconds left to deliver a 36-35 Civil War win.

While that long drive briefly quelled Oregon's momentum, the Ducks got it right back on their following possession. Pettis set the Pac-12 career record, taking a punt back for a score for the second straight game to break a tie with Cal's DeSean Jackson.

OR responded with 75-yard touchdown drive that Freeman finished with a 2-yard touchdown run to end the first quarter with the Ducks ahead 21-7. He's also showing some zip on the ball. In 2016, USF quarterback Quinton Flowers rushed for 157 yards and three scores, while running back Marlon Mack added 107.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert has been sharp so far today against Nebraska. Lee finished the game with 252 yards and completed 19 of his 41 passes with three touchdowns.

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.

Associated Press
Associated Press

In what seemed like an offensive first-quarter battle, OR scored again making it 21-7. And Oregon's defense is feeding off that.

OR has the ball up 14-0.

Five plays later, Herbert hit Nelson for an eight-yard touchdown.

The dread progressed when Tanner Lee's first pass of the game, intended for Stanley Morgan Jr., was picked off.

Defensively Nebraska is going to have to play considerably better in the secondary, if they give up that kind of yardage to OR it's going to be a long day.

Thousands of red-clad Husker fans made the 1,360-mile journey to Eugene, competing with the Ducks fan base on the volume scale during pregame festivities.

"The offense, we just got stuck a little bit", sophomore wide receiver Dillon Mitchell explained.

OR leads Nebraska, 7-0.

"It's exciting to do that", Riley said of a return to Oregon. Last season when Nebraska beat OR, 35-32 in Lincoln, Nelson caught eight passes for 80 yards. The Ducks will be seeking some revenge today against the Cornhuskers.

Many of those friends will stay in town to dress in red Saturday when Riley leads Nebraska against OR during his eighth appearance as a head coach at Autzen Stadium.

They have a new scheme this season and forced a pair of turnovers against Southern Utah, while recording five quarterback sacks. The game is scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on FOX.

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