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Nebraska vs. Oregon: Huskers Gut Out 35-32 Victory

The 350th sellout gives a special come-from-behind win

NCAA Football: Oregon at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon got the opening kickoff, taking the ball with winning the coin toss. They did get three first downs on their opening drive, but had to give the ball up to Nebraska at midfield. The Huskers went straight 3 and out on their first drive, not doing anything with two runs and a Tommy Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp overthrow.

After both drives, the Ducks took over on their own 35 yard line. After a Royce Freeman rush and incompletion, Dakota Prukop got a first down on a scramble. A couple of more scrambles down the field, along with a Prukop to Darren Carrington hookup got it to the Nebraska 20. A scat around left end by Tony Brooks-James, who was in for a dinged up Royce Freeman, went the distance to put up the first points of the day. A 2 point swinging gate play by Charles Nelson put the score 8-0 Oregon. It was a 10 play, 65 yard drive for the Ducks on their second possession.

Nebraska got the ball back on a touchback, where a Armstrong loss then a rush, but a bad pass to Alonzo Moore gave the Huskers another 3 and out. Caleb Lightbourn flipped the field again though, putting the Ducks back on their own 23 yard line for their third drive.

Oregon got the ball but did nothing with it, thanks to a Michael Rose-Ivey stop in the backfield and a Ross Dzuris sack on third down. The Huskers got the field position they were looking for on the punt, taking in a fair catch on the Nebraska 45 yard line.

The Huskers got across midfield with a Armstrong run and TA to Stanley Morgan toss, giving them their first first down of the contest. Stanley got the ball again 3 plays later to move the chains once again. Two plays later, the room mates found themselves to release the balloons. Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp for a 22 yard TD.

After the 8 play, 55 yard drive that ended with a regular extra point, the Huskers trailed Oregon 8-7.

Oregon got the ball back on the touchback, but moved back with a holding play on the first play of the drive. After a loss and a false start to get it to 3rd and 17, Prukop went on a scramble to get most of it back, but the first quarter ended.

Starting the second quarter, the Ducks punted but De’Mornay Pierson-El fumbled the catch. Fortunately, Graham Nabity of the Huskers recovered the muffed punt at the Nebraska 31 yard line.

Armstrong started off with a toss to Cethan Carter then a zone stretch to Devine Ozigbo. A false start penalty to Alonzo Moore, however, knocked the Huskers back 5 yards, and TA to Carter was a half yard short. An Armstrong sneak got the first down, however. Two plays later, a nifty jailbreak screen to Alonzo Moore got the ball in Oregon territory. A big loss on a DPE jet brought up 2nd and 16, where Ozigbo got a fair amount of it back. 3rd and 8 brought a Cethan screen that TA threw too hard. The Huskers were in no man’s land, so they went for it. Armstrong to Moore didn’t work this time, and the Huskers gave the ball up on downs on the Oregon 36 yard line.

Oregon took three plays to get a first down and to the midfield stripe. A throw from Prukop to Charles Nelson got another first down and got the ball inside the Huskers 30 yard line. Prukop missed a TD throw down the middle of the field to Carrington, bringing up third down. A rush on third was stuffed, but the Ducks kept the O on the field and Prukop hit Dwayne Stanford on a cross to get inside the Nebraska 5 yard line.

Two Duck rushes were stuffed, but James-Brooks made the corner around Nate Gerry & Lamar Jackson to score the second Ducks TD. The 2 point try this time was not successful. 11 plays and 64 yards gave Oregon a 14-7 lead with just under 6 minutes in the quarter.

Nebraska got the ball back on the touchback, and a couple runs got them out past their 40 yard line. A nice toss from TA to Carter got the ball inside the Duck 40 yard line on the next play. Two plays later, Newby took a Nebraska zone read and got into the red zone. But the drive went bad and Oregon found momentum when Mikale Wilbon didn’t fall on a backwards pass from Armstrong, and Aarion Springs recovered and took the ball to midfield. It took one play for Oregon to take it to the house, as Taj Griffin took it up the middle of the field 50 yards for the Ducks TD. Another biffed 2 point conversion made the score 20-7 Oregon on the 1 play, 50 yard drive.

Nebraska got the ball back on another muff on the kickoff at their own 23 yard line. A rush from Newby and Carter catch got it to the 37. Three plays later, however, Armstrong to Westerkamp didn’t work out, and the Nebraska had to punt away inside the Oregon 18 yard line.

Oregon didn’t do much with it, seemingly happy with keeping possession and not wanting to try anything. Three and out went the Ducks, with the Huskers calling timeout with 50 seconds left in the half. The Ducks kicked to De’mornay Pierson-El, and even though he was interfered with, he showed up with a 45 yard return to the Oregon 19 yard line.

Armstrong to Morgan got the first down, then TA spiked it to make it 2nd down with 26 seconds left. Three plays later, Armstrong to Morgan missed again but Oregon was flagged for PI once again, putting the ball on the Oregon 2 yard line. A false start from Cethan Carter on a yakety sax change by Oregon put the ball on the 7 yard line. But, Oregon felt gifted and put PI with Alonzo Moore to put it back on the 2 yard line. An Armstrong carry out of bounds put it at :10 seconds to go in the half. The next play, you can’t ban the fade as Nebraska FINALLY put the ball in the end zone. Armstrong to Westerkamp put the Huskers on the scoreboard.

With the Drew Brown kick, it became 20-14 Oregon with 5 seconds in the half. 5 plays and 19 yards on the TD drive. The kickoff return ran out the half.


Welcome! Brian had to go to work, so you get Ranchbabe’s ramblings for the rest of the game.

I think this sums of what most of Husker Nation felt when they saw Pierson-El on the move.

  • Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for 134 yards in the first half, pushing his career total to 7,310 yards. His total is a new Nebraska record, bettering the 7,258 yards by Taylor Martinez (2010-13).
  • Jordan Westerkamp had two touchdown receptions in the first half a 22-yarder in the first quarter and a three-yard TD in the final seconds of the first half. Westerkamp now has 17 career touchdown receptions and four in 2016. His 17 career TD catches are fourth in NU history, passing Maurice Purify on the NU career chart (16).
  • Westerkamp has caught at least one pass in 29 straight games, the third-longest streak in NU history. Westerkamp’s two first-half receptions gives him 136 in his career, moving him up to fourth on the NU career receptions list.
  • Cethan Carter had four receptions in the first half, tying his career high in receptions (Iowa, 2013; Rutgers, 2015).

3rd Quarter

The kickoff to Nebraska was a touchback and the Huskers started at the 25. The Huskers came out swinging as Devine Ozigbo was carrying Ducks for some good gains on four straight run plays that got the Huskers past midfield. A run by Tommy picked up another first. Terrell Newby went to the bench with an injury after protecting Tommy on that run. Ozigbo came back in and ripped off another good run near the red zone. Tommy then hit Rymers (who?) for the touchdown!!! The Brown PAT gave the Huskers the lead.

Nebraska 21 Oregon 20

This was the Oregon rush defense that was advertised before the game. Let’s hope the Huskers can repeat this when they get the ball back.

The Ducks brought the kickoff out to the 22. While the Huskers came out swinging, the Ducks came out slinging. They went for the home run ball immediately but Prukop overthew on first down and underthrew on second. The Blackshirts got to him on the scramble attempt to force 4th and long.

Pierson-El fair caught the punt at the 38. Ozigbo carried for no gain and then Moore was interfered with to convert a first down by penalty just over midfield. Tommy went right back to Moore who gained 9 but looked like his shoulder was hurting a bit. He stayed in the game. Ozigbo rushed for 1 to get the first by the skin of his teeth at the 38. The Huskers went right back to #22 and then on a play action fake, DPE caught the slant for another first down. Then it was Devine time again as the bruising back picked up four but then didn’t catch the swing pass. On 3rd and 6 Tommy overthrew Cethan Carter in the end zone but the flag gave the Huskers another chance at 3rd and 1. Tommy snuck in to set up first and goal but came up limping.

Ozigbo’s run didn’t get much on first but he found paydirt on second down for the TD. Tommy went down after the play in a lot of pain. Optimistically, it looks like a leg cramp as they were trying to stretch him out and weren’t taking off shoes or anything. Drew Brown’s PAT was good.

Nebraska 28 Oregon 20

The Duck returner wanted to bring the ball out on the kickoff, but a teammate told him to take a knee. Touchback.

Prukop had a nice run for a first down. The Ducks then went up the middle for 7. The Huskers sniffed out the next one for a very short gain forcing 3rd and 2. Again, the Ducks tried to use their speed to the perimeter but Josh Kalu stuffed it for no gain. Uggh. A flag gave the Ducks first down. Again they went to the perimeter for a couple plays but then got flagged for the personal foul to create a 3rd and 16. They converted as Prukop found a receiver on the sideline while the pocket was collapsing but another flag on the Ducks nullified the gain.

On 3rd and 26, they were just short (to me it looked like forward progress had him over the line to gain) setting up 4th and 1 at the Husker 40. They went for it of course and not only converted but got the touchdown. On the long 3rd down, the Husker defense looked vintage 2015. The 2 pt conversion was no good.

Huskers 28 Oregon 26

The kickoff was a touchback. Huskers take over at the 25. An Ozigbo (?) and then Armstrong run converted a first but the flag was on Nebraska. The pass on 2nd and 15 went to Cethan Carter for 10. Tommy picked up the first on a QB keeper. Another run up the middle and the Duck defenders were looking visibly gassed.

4th Quarter

On 2nd and 5, Newby went nowhere. The 3rd down pass was incomplete but the Ducks drew their 11th flag of the game (with a Pac12 crew). On the first down, Tommy scrambled to keep the play alive, but ultimately could not connect with Stanley Morgan. The Huskers should have gotten a hold, and Tommy took a hard shot at the end of the play. He lost 4 on a run on second down and went down and stayed down out of bounds after the play.

Ryker Fyfe entered the game facing 3rd and 14. Brendan Stai on the sideline reported that Tommy was still having cramping issues in his legs. Ryker’s pass was incomplete and Nebraska had to punt.

Lightbourn’s punt again took a great Husker bounce and it went out around the three. The youngster was having his best game, by far, so far as Sam Foltz’s replacement.

Oregon again went to the perimeter and got out to the 8 on first down. Prukop scrambled for a long gain followed by another perimeter run. In short order the Ducks had 2nd and 5 at the 35. Prukop kept it on the next play but gained 2. Prukop wanted to throw but scrambled for the first down with Dzuris bringing him down after four yards.

Oregon’s speed came to bear as Long gashed the Huskers for a huge gain to the 13. The first down pass was dropped and then Prukop lost two on the QB keeper in the zone read. On 3rd and 12 Carrington caught the ball at the 1 yard line despite good coverage. On first and goal they lined up quickly and rammed it in for six. The two point conversion run by Prukop was no good.

The Ducks went 97 yards in less than 3 minutes.

This was also the first points given up this season in the fourth quarter by the Blackshirts.

Oregon 32 Nebraska 28

Husker sideline reporters indicated Tommy got an IV on the sideline in order to go back in the game. The kickoff was returned to the 20 yard line by Tre Bryant. There was extracurricular activity after the play and Oregon was nailed for a facemask penalty. The drive started at the 35.

Tommy came out on the field and ran for one yard on first down. The second down pass was incomplete and another flag against the Huskers was declined. It was 3rd and 9. The 3rd down pass to Morgan was incomplete and the Ducks forced a 3 and out.

Lightbourn’s punt was sky high and he pinned the Ducks at the 12.

At this point, the Husker fans were getting really restless re: the playcalling on that drive.

Due to an odd commercial break, I missed the first couple plays. I did hear Akinmoladun’s name in there though. On 3rd and 9, the pass was complete but 3 yards short of the first down. The Blackshirts forced their own 3 and out.

DPE fielded the punt at the 35 with no return. The flag was against Nebraska for unnecessary roughness (JoJo Dohman). It cost the Huskers 15 yards which gave the Ducks a net punt of around 70 yards and squandering an opportunity for good field position.

Tommy again came out on the field to hand off to Devine for a nine yard gain. Apparently Coach Langsdorf got the memo all Husker fans were trying to send him after that last drive.

On the next play the zone read to Ozigbo gained the first down. The next play was another zone read handoff to #22 for 9 yards up the middle. 6:19 left in the game. The next snap was lost but a pre-snap penalty negated the fumble (that was picked up by Oregon). On second and 6 from the 40, Tommy gained 16 but a holding penalty negated some of it. On 2nd and 3, Ozigbo got the first down and more. The sophomore back was at 98 yards with that run. The next zone read handoff to Devine lost 3 yards and the Huskers faced 2nd and 13. Tommy gained four and with 4 minutes left the Huskers faced 3rd and 9. Cethan Carter almost caught a good Armstrong pass and he took a big hit and went down hurt.

Nebraska went for it on 4th and 9 with 3:48 left. The pass was caught by - who else - Jordan Westerkamp for a first down. The offensive line gave Tommy great protection to make the strike.

Tommy kept the zone read to gain 4 (3 minutes left) at the 34. Tommy then took off on the next play and scored the TOUCHDOWN!!!!! A hurting quarterback who needed an IV just a short while ago did everything he could to respond to Oregon. Brown’s PAT was good. There are 2 12 minutes left in the game.

Nebraska 35 Oregon 32

Drew Brown’s kickoff went for a touchback. Oregon took over at their 25. They had 323 yards on the ground thus far. Would it be enough?

The first play went for 3 but was stopped by Stoltenberg (who had a knee scoped 9 days ago). The next pass went for 21. Husker fans were having serious 2015 flashbacks at this point.

The next pass was caught for 6 with 1:44 to go and Oregon was approaching field goal range. Prukop got the first down on the zone read and stopped the clock and took a hit by Nate Gerry in the process.

Prukop gained a bunch on the next play but it was called back for holding on Oregon. This was Oregon’s 13th penalty for 126 yards. It was 1st and 20. Both teams had all their timeouts.

The pass was deflected and incomplete setting up 2nd and 20. On a huge play where an Oregon receiver was wide open in the end zone, he underthrew the ball and Keiron Williams tipped it. 3rd and 20 with 50 seconds. On 3rd and 20 Prukop was sacked (Akinmoladun) and fumbled the ball. One of the lineman picked it up but only gained 2. The Blackshirts faced 4th and 18. They were not in field goal range.

On the fourth down play, Freedom!!! showed up and brought down Prukop for the sack. Huskers take over on downs.


Nebraska took a couple knees and sealed the deal. The Huskers prevailed 35-32 in one of Mike Riley’s only victories over his Duck nemesis.

I know Tommy Armstrong takes a lot of heat, but he was the same lion-hearted player we have seen time and time again. Also of note, after one Langsdorf-ish series, our offensive coordinator remembered what got Nebraska this far.

I don’t want to brag (but I’m going to anyway). Take a look back at the predictions and guess which CN staff writer was the only one to predict a game to stay in the 30s!! (give me this, it is the only good prediction I’ve made all season)

Enjoy this one Husker nation.

Oooh, look what I found. A tweet that has nothing to do with our game but still awesome.

It was a good day for the Big Red.

Hat tip to Oregon. This was every bit the game we thought it would be. They were missing their All-American running back and had a chance to win this game at the end. Their gesture of placing flowers at the 27 yard line for Sam Foltz showed their class and won’t be forgotten by Nebraska fans any time soon. Thank you Ducks - see you next year.