Tom Shatel, Omaha WH: No moral victories for Huskers, but no insurmountable defeat against Oregon
Things could be better. They could also be worse.
There’s no consolation in Nebraska football, and there wasn’t as the men in red walked toward their locker room late Saturday afternoon. There were a lot of emotions after a madcap game, and frustration was first and foremost on their faces.
NU coach Mike Riley put it perfectly when asked if he was more frustrated by the defensive lapses in the first half or the offensive breakdowns in the second.
“Yeah,” Riley said, “I think you nailed it.”
Perhaps the most frustrated were those who wanted everyone from Shawn Eichorst to Diaco fired at halftime.
Maybe you can handle the truth, maybe you can’t, but here it is: It’s way too early for verdicts or conclusive statements about this team.
The definition games all lie ahead. That could be the good news or the bad news, depending on whether your cup is full, empty or somewhere in between.
Steven Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Give Diaco’s D credit for resilience, but don’t go overboard praising an ‘L’
Oh, but that first half. Good heavens, that was ugly. Oregon (2-0) came ready to play. It would be difficult to say the same about Nebraska, considering it was down 42-14 at halftime to a Ducks squad that was 4-8 last season and has a new coaching staff.
As much fight as Nebraska (1-1) showed in the second half, let's be careful to avoid showering too much praise on the Huskers. Oregon is a vulnerable team with a defense that finished 126th nationally in average yards allowed last season. If the Ducks owned a talent advantage, it was slight.
Bottom line, this game was winnable for the visitors.
Let's get this out of the way: I hope I never see the day when Nebraska football celebrates coming close.
John Canzano, Oregon Live: Oregon vs. Nebraska ends all smiles & all kinds of complicated
This was a college football rarity. Both teams won, kind of. Both teams lost, sort of. Neither team played all four quarters with a straight face. It didn't matter if you'd followed Oregon Ducks coach Willie Taggart up the tunnel behind the west end zone after the game or trailed Nebraska coach Mike Riley out the east tunnel, you got the same thing on Saturday.
It's this: a nervous smile.
Taggart grinned like a guy who had been struck by lighting and only lost his eyebrows. He left the field at Autzen Stadium, hugged his oldest son, fist-bumped a couple of recruits, then skipped up the tunnel, still undefeated. Out the other way, Riley hung out by a couple of running charter buses, inhaling fumes, smiled and said, "We had a shot. As bad as it was, we had a shot."
Tony Piraro, Addicted to Quack: Oregon outlasts Nebraska after 42 point first half, 42-35
This was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Oregon’s offense amassed 409 total yards and six scores on their way to a 42-14 halftime lead. Over the final 30 minutes, the Duck defense stepped up with the offense being held scoreless. The UO secondary accounted for four interceptions on the day, while holding Nebraska’s offense to 361 total yards.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it got conservative. They kept running the same defense,” said head coach Willie Taggart. “We were running the same plays in the second half, we just didn’t execute. We didn’t play with a sense of urgency like we did in the first half.”
Ron Richmond, Lincoln JS: Roller coaster ride for Lee includes up and down day
Mike Riley’s first postgame words were about winning the turnover battle and out-rushing an opponent as the obvious keys to victory.
Nebraska did neither in its 42-35 loss to Oregon on Saturday, and shouldering much of the blame was Husker quarterback Tanner Lee. The junior threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, but two of his four interceptions started and finished a long uphill battle at Autzen Stadium.
Lee’s final pass came after the Husker defense had denied the Ducks for the seventh time with a three-and-out and 2:17 to play. On first down from his own 43-yard line, Lee dropped and looked to his right, but his throw fluttered when his arm was hit by a blitzing Oregon linebacker.
“We got a decent look and we wanted to make a play,” Lee said, “but I just didn’t get the ball off in time. It was kind of an unfortunate situation, because I really wanted to make a play there.
“We didn’t get it done.”
I gotta say this #Huskers team showed a ton of heart in that second half. This will be a really fun year to watch this team.— Nick Gregath (@Husker_Nick) September 10, 2017
S/O to the #Huskers fans that made the trip. Great group of people. Had a nice time interacting w/ many of you as did many fans I spoke w/.— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkinsSD) September 10, 2017
Oregon QB Justin Herbert on Nebraska's fans pouring into Autzen: "I’ve never seen anything like that. That’s really cool for Nebraska."— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 10, 2017
Ducks players presented the 3 Dornbecher cancer patients with game balls after win over Nebraska. #GoDucks— Jay Allen (@PDXjay) September 10, 2017
Not the outcome we wanted, but I’m so proud of the way this team fought and refused to quit. We will learn and be better next week #GBR— Luke McNitt (@LukeMcNitt) September 10, 2017
I'm a proud blackshirt, my brothers gave it all they had second half, but we came up short and we have to be better and we will be. #GBR— Lamar Jackson (@TheRoyal_21) September 10, 2017