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Nebraska Football: Five Reasons The Huskers Will Beat Oregon

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The odds for a Big Red win are better than you think, even on the road

David McGee/Corn Nation

My family and I recently moved to a new house. Even though the house is 93 years old, it is new to us. Most notably however is that the freezer in the kitchen does not have an ice maker.

Relevant? Yes.

The three houses we lived in before this one had ice makers. We didn’t know what we had until it was gone.

So how does this all connect back to football?

Tanner Lee is Nebraska football’s ice maker.

Arkansas State v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Nebraska football has gone so long with inconsistent and unreliable quarterback play that some have accepted it as the new normal. Nebraska fans have gotten used to it.

Like Nebraska quarterback play, ice trays are inconsistent and unreliable when all you crave is a nice glass of water.

On some Saturdays we have opened the freezer to find ice trays with solid ice bulging out of the ice trays. Then like clockwork, the next time we return to the freezer the ice is only partially frozen or isn’t frozen at all. So we close the door and hope the next time we open the freezer door there will be ice like before.

Now we have a consistent and dependable quarterback. Nebraska football has an ice maker. And like having an ice maker for the first time, Husker fans can tell that it is upgrade. We can tell the experience is different but we still aren’t able or willing to appreciate it. That is, of course, until there is no more ice maker. Then all the sudden we realize what we had.

Time to go back to using ice trays.

Filling those ice trays are a little more difficult after having experienced a full tub of ice in the freezer with almost no work at all. First world problems, I know.

I have hope for what Coach Riley has in store at the quarterback position. But my experience without, with and without an ice maker will help me enjoy Tanner Lee’s time with Nebraska.

I hope we know what we have before he is gone.

If anybody else has other metaphors comparing Nebraska football players to kitchen appliances please let me know in the comments. These are important discussions which need to be hashed out.

So onto those five reasons the Huskers will beat Oregon.

FIRST: OREGON WILL HAVE A “WEAKENED” HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

The in-game atmosphere at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon might create one of the most impressive and effective home field advantages in the entire country.

I wish I was going to be there on Saturday to experience it.

Fortunately, Nebraska fans have my back and many will be making the trip to Oregon. I have heard over 15,000 Nebraska fans will be there.

Autzen Stadium can fit approximately 55,000+ ticket-goers, and the only question will be how much red will get into the stadium. I do not expect another Notre Dame takeover, but it won’t take much for Nebraska fans to leave their mark.

Another reason Oregon will have a “weakened” home field advantage is because of a lack of “home cooking” or routine.

Ask Oregon Coach Willie Taggart if he would be okay if the team had to make a slight adjustment to the normal practice schedule. I bet he would object because he understands how important a routine is to student-athletes.

Now instead of a slight adjustment to the normal practice schedule, insert an hour bus drive to a middle school in Siuslaw Middle School in Florence, OR for practice as a result of the hazardous air quality in Eugene, Oregon.

Athletes are creatures of habit, and players want to get dressed for practice at their normal locker next to the same teammates they have been with since fall camp.

Oregon football players have been out of their routine this week. It might not sound like much, but the combination of forest fires, hazardous air quality, and practicing at the middle school an hour away during the week does add up. It can’t help.

Then add the 15,000 plus Nebraska fans making their way into Eugene will not help.

SECOND: TANNER LEE WAS CLOSE TO ADVERTISED

I will swallow my pride and admit I was wrong last week when I said Tanner Lee would beat both Arkansas State and Oregon in week one. Unfortunately that did not happen.

So while Tanner Lee obviously was not as good as I expected, he was close to the player that reasonable people were expecting.

He finished the game throwing 19-32 for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Zero interceptions. If Tyler Hoppes and J.D. Spielman both catch passes thrown directly in their hands then Lee finishes the game with a 66% completion rate and three touchdowns.

Arkansas State v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

This was his first game after not playing in a long time. It was obvious he had butterflies during his first possession. But what we saw afterwards were accurate throws on a rope. He can sling the ball around and he is accurate.

He is going to be better, and the key to beating Oregon will be our offenses’ ability to hold on to the ball and sustain drives.

There were several throws, particularly the throw to Hoppes where Hoppes makes a “future NFL Tight End” type catch, where Tanner Lee threw it to a place where only his guy could catch it. That is going to be key this weekend.

THIRD: DIACO DID NOT SHOW HIS HAND: HE IMPLEMENTED HIS ‘WINNING STRATEGY’

As I stated last week, Bob Diaco is super duper smart.

Now we have learned that Diaco is Nebraska’s version of the Honey Badger. He does not care. What does he not care about?

Arkansas State v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Giving up yards and points.

It is all a part of his “winning strategy” which is the phrase he used this week during his press conference. I actually do not mind the thought process.

Diaco did what he felt needed to happen in order for Nebraska to win the football game.

Additionally, if he and the other defensive coaches were forced to tell the truth, they would say they set up a game plan against Arkansas State to do enough to win the game while also not giving Oregon much game film to parse and cut through.

This should not be a surprise. This is the same defensive coordinator who would not run his defense during the spring game.

So what was the result? Nebraska gave up yards and points, but they won the game.

It is a “winning strategy.” I’ll take it.

FOURTH: NEBRASKA HAD SUCCESS RUNNING THE BALL

6.1935.

That is the amount of yards Tre Bryant averaged per carry against Arkansas State.

Future Facebook Commenter: Well it was against Arkansas State! It doesn’t mean anything!

Another Future Facebook Commenter: Michael Jordan would have averaged 10 yards per carry against Arkansas State!

Yes. I understand Arkansas State is a team from the Sun Belt. But they shared a conference title last year and were a nationally ranked defense in several important categories like total tackles for loss (1st). Several of the best players who played on that 2016 Arkansas State defense played last week as well.

However, because of how “poorly” the Nebraska defense played last week, nobody has taken time to notice how well our offense played against Arkansas State’s best unit.

Another number might be of interest as well.

21.

That is the amount of points Southern Utah scored against Oregon in the first half. So the Oregon defensive unit is not exactly an immovable force.

FIFTH: NEBRASKA WILL NOT HAVE TO SCORE 78 POINTS

I heard several concerns about having to score 78 points to beat Oregon since they put up 77 against Southern Utah.

We need to remind ourselves of two important factors.

One: This is not Chip Kelly calling the plays. It is a whole new coaching staff.

Two: Oregon scored 77 points against Southern Utah. I didn’t even know there was a Southern Utah before last week. Nebraska is not Southern Utah. More importantly, Arkansas State is not Southern Utah.

If Nebraska is not able to play clock-eating-long-possession football then they will have to score 40 points to beat Oregon, not 78. I think they can do that.

Poll

Will Nebraska cover the spread against Oregon? (+14)

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Yes.
    (1753 votes)
  • 26%
    No.
    (629 votes)
2382 votes total Vote Now