Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald: Husker defensive coordinator Mark Banker better equipped to exorcise Oregon demons
Much has been made — especially in Corvallis — about Riley’s failures against Oregon. If he wins just one of those games from 2008-14, if he claims one of the Rose Bowl qualifiers in ’08 or ’09, if he steals the upset in ’13, maybe the administration doesn’t turn up the heat. Maybe he’s still at Oregon State.
But let’s be more specific here. Oregon’s piñata wasn’t Mike Riley, it was Mark Banker. In the seven losses, the Beavers gave up an average of 578 yards and 45.6 points. Time and time again, Oregon humiliated him.
“I can’t say there’s a lot of love in my heart right there,” Banker said.
Now the Nebraska defensive coordinator gets another chance, this time with a better hand, this time with 90,000 fans behind him. Next Saturday will say a ton about Banker’s defensive progress in Year 2 — and a little about Banker’s future in Lincoln, too.
Following Saturday’s excellent performance against Wyoming, Banker didn’t shy away from the Oregon talk. Not one bit.
“They’re gonna come in here high flying and we’re gonna see what we’re made out of,” he said.
Steven Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: For Armstrong, 'pretty good' may not cut it against Ducks
There were plenty of positives for the home team, but enough issues — including a bunch of knucklehead penalties — to make even the most optimistic Nebraska fan feel a bit fidgety with 24th-ranked Oregon up next.
Langsdorf was his usual calm-and-collected self as he addressed reporters. Asked to assess Armstrong, Langsdorf said he was "pretty good overall."
The veteran coach proceeded to shift quickly to Armstrong's early second-quarter interception on first-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Armstrong said he spotted a receiver in the back of the end zone. But there were defenders (plural) in the way. Armstrong gunned it anyway, as he's wont to do, and safety Andrew Wingard made the pick.
"It was one of those deals where we forced it for no reason," Langsdorf said. "We should throw it out of bounds or into the stands and line up and play again. In a really good game, that's kind of one thing we have to fix."
Many Nebraska fans immediately fixated on that throw, in part because that's the world in which we live. It's instant analysis. You hear (and read): "Same ol' Tommy."
MWCConnection.com: Cowboys Challenge, but Huskers pull away for 52-17 win
For three quarters, Wyoming went toe-to-toe with Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Wyoming trailed by just one score heading into the games final 15 minutes.
And then it went south, quickly.
Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska-Oregon could be fascinating matchup — depending on which Huskers show up
It’s a delicious setup for Riley, who never faced Oregon with this many skill players on his sideline or in front of 90,000 fanatics who aren’t exactly making duck calls.
“It’s an exciting time,” Riley said. “Being who they are and what they mean nationally and where we want to go, this is exciting.”
But how much excitement can a Husker fan stand, anyway?
As much as Riley wants to show Oregon what he can do with Nebraska toys, Husker fans crave that brand-name win. Yes, there was Michigan State last year. But this would be in Week 3, in September, when momentum and hope are still fresh.
The next three weeks — Oregon, at Northwestern, Illinois — loom like a season barometer. Win all three and NU is 5-0 going to a bye week.
But as we saw Saturday, there are no guarantees.
Steve Beideck, Omaha World-Herald: Huskers spoil Craig Bohl’s return to his hometown
It was Bohl’s first game at Nebraska since he was an assistant coach for the Huskers from 1995 through 2002. He was defensive coordinator for the final three years.
Having been asked all week about his return to Lincoln, he was understandably weary of that line of questioning.
“There is a lot of family here, but I have been asked that question a lot,” he said. “This is about the University of Wyoming and about our football team. Coaches are typically really good at compartmentalizing.
“We got beat by a good football team, so it really didn’t have a lot to do with emotion.”
John Canzano, The Oregonian: Oregon Ducks don’t look ready for a big game with Nebraska
But if the UO could win a big game at Nebraska, maybe even in impressive fashion? That might do it, and more importantly, a big victory and a 3-0 start would serve notice that Oregon isn't going to go quietly into the Pac 12 Conference abyss this season.
But a Ducks loss in Lincoln next week?
A loss, especially a bad one at Nebraska, would unwind a lot of progress.
"It's a big one," Riley said of the game.
The Ducks don't look ready for a big one. We've now seen them suit up twice against inferior non-conference opponents. Same costume. Same result. But if you trust this act, you're not watching closely enough. It's why I have reasonable doubt about their ability to win on the road next week.
As #Huskers fan, I see CMU beat Cowpokes, Grambling lead AZ, Clemson struggle w Troy & think... 52-17 over Wyoming is alright.— John Gaskins (@johngaskins981) September 11, 2016
Oregon next up for Nebraska, and #Huskers LB Michael Rose-Ivey says: "It is a big game next week. We can’t shy away that."— Rich Kaipust (@RKaipustOWH) September 10, 2016
#Huskers forced six turnovers today. Last season, entered Game No. 7 having forced six total turnovers.— Brian Rosenthal (@GBRosenthal) September 10, 2016
In the first three quarters of games this year, the #Huskers have outscored foes 45-27. In the fourth quarter, 50-0.— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) September 10, 2016
Chris Jones wore his Lockdown U t-shirt after the game. Did he think his DBs lived up to it? "Yeah, we lived up to the name today." #Huskers— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 10, 2016
Lightbourn on the fake punt: "I was like, 'wow, that was a terrible decision. Why did I do that?'" #huskers— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 10, 2016
In this castle which by its splendor rivals the heavens,— Andy Wenstrand (@DesignsToaMaize) September 11, 2016
This castle to which sovereigns succeeded with delight pic.twitter.com/XhnrNk4xdB