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The Morning After: Oregon

So many voices to be heard after the Nebraska victory over Oregon. We round them up here.

David McGee

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Mike Riley & Tommy Armstrong prove blood and guts beat glitter

How do you like them now?

The affirmation shook this old house to the core. It was loud here, big-game loud, all the emotion from an unforgettable day of mood swings and drama just poured out.

When all was said and won, Nebraska had outlasted and outpunched Oregon 35-32 in the kind of big boy football game the Huskers used to win all the time.

A stadium full of Husker fans put an exclamation point on the drama in full blast volume. And on a day of many heroes in red, the adulation was saved for two of the biggest boys in a big boy game.

Mike Riley, going for fourth-and-nine at his 48 with just more than three minutes left. Punt and maybe you get the ball back. Maybe you don’t.

Tommy Armstrong, executing the fourth down play with a perfect thread to Jordan Westerkamp, then finishing off a big-game winning drive two plays later with a 34-yard run on a quarterback draw.

Mike Riley and Tommy Armstrong, big-game hunters.

How do you like them now?

Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: Banker’s crew gets serious dose of “positive juju”

Mark Banker was talking fast again Saturday, as he had earlier in the week as he described in great detail Oregon's rapid-fire football offense.

The second-year Nebraska defensive coordinator was predictably jazzed about his unit's final stand in the Huskers' 35-32 triumph, which felt like a healthy jolt of momentum for Mike Riley's second-year program.

And, yes, of course, this result felt good personally for Riley, and Banker, in particular.

After all, Oregon bamboozled Oregon State, thanks mainly to Banker's defense, from 2008-14. The Ducks averaged 45.6 points and an unsightly 578 yards in seven straight wins.

With a few victories against Oregon in that period, some feel Riley and Banker still might be Beavers.

Whatever. Doesn't matter now. In this game, Oregon had 482 yards. The Ducks kept charging. The Husker defense was far from perfect. But in the end — in the cathartic final moments before a raucous crowd of 90,414 at Memorial Stadium — Banker's crew was good enough.

John Canzano, The Oregonian: Identity crisis at Oregon, as Mike Riley gets Duck off his back

Instead, Nebraska beat Oregon 35-32 on Saturday. I'll leave the mathematicians and probability experts to determine what the final score should have been. But after the game, Huskers coach Mike Riley was walking with his wife, Dee, and their grandson. They were headed home for the night when someone pointed out that there was blood smeared all over the front of the coach's polo shirt.

Riley looked down.

"It's not mine," he said.

I suppose this column could be all about Riley's redemption. He went for it on fourth down and 9 with 3:38 left. He sent his kicker out and made the extra points. His team played relatively disciplined. The end result: Riley snapped a seven-game losing streak against Oregon.

He got the Duck off his back.

Addicted to Quack: Penalties kill Ducks, Oregon falls to Nebraska 35-32

The Ducks failed all but one two-point conversion attempt on Saturday. Clearly, these missed opportunities came back to haunt Oregon, yet once they started missing, they continually were trying to make it back with the following try.

“With the skill-set of Charles (Nelson) and still being able to hold, it’s a rare combination out of something teams have to prepare for,” stated Ducks’ head coach Mark Helfrich. “That’s something we’ll continue to do.”

Oregon looked more like a desperate Las Vegas gambler at the Flamingo Casino, trying to hit the jackpot instead of taking what the “table” gives you in the form of free extra points from a kicker that has a career conversion rate of 92-percent.

“We got to learn from it,” said Prukop. “That’s the kind of team we have, so we’ll see kind of guys we have, how resilient we are.”

Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald: Not this time, Blackshirts rise up when needed most

Hail the Huskers. They earned this one. Mike Riley and Tommy Armstrong and Mark Banker, whose demons go back further than BYU. He’d lost seven straight to the Ducks from 2008-14, giving up an average of 578 yards per game.

In 2013, Oregon State scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:38 left in Eugene. Then Marcus Mariota led the Ducks on a nine-play, 83-yard drive, completing the game-winning touchdown with 29 seconds left. 36-35, Oregon.

Banker knew how to contain the Ducks. But knowing and doing are different things. We’re talking about a program with more resources and more playmakers than almost anyone in America.

“They got every toy known to mankind,” Banker said. “They can attract any young man that wants to look at those things and go to school there. … They got Nike behind ’em, the whole nine yards.”

Brandon Vogel, Hail Varsity: A villainous adjustment keys Huskers old-school win

Everyone with an opinion on this game seemed to have the same one: Nebraska’s path to victory was on the ground. Run right at a dinged-up, transitioning and, after two games at least, unproven Oregon defensive line. The logic seemed solid.

Problem was, it wasn’t working. At the half the Huskers were averaging a meager 3.4 yards per rush, about 3 yards fewer than Oregon which was playing without star running back Royce Freeman after the first quarter. Nebraska had some momentum thanks to Pierson-El’s return, but no proven way forward.

“You always want to be able to get [the run] going, but they were giving us some problems,” Langsdorf said. “They were loaded up pretty good.”

The solution? Adjust and try again.

After throwing a bunch of two tight-end sets at Oregon in the first half, Nebraska decided to spread the Ducks out with some three wide receiver sets and try the ground game again, this time with some base plays that Langsdorf said Nebraska hadn’t spent a whole lot of time practicing this week.

Worked like a charm. Nebraska went 75 yards in seven plays for a touchdown to open the second half. Six of those plays were runs, five of them by Devine Ozigbo between the tackles. The sophomore finished with 95 yards and a touchdown on the day.