Tanner Lee picked a hell of a day to have a bad game. Bob Diaco picked the wrong time of the game to come alive.
It was a valiant comeback, but in the end, it fell short.
Tanner Lee tried to save the day, but his fourth interception of the day sealed the Oregon Ducks’ victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 42-35, in front of a very Sea Of Red sellout at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
The Huskers (1-1) tried to stage a comeback after the Ducks (2-0) decided to go very conservative in the second half. Oregon put up over 400 yards and 42 points in the first half, only to gain 157 yards in a second half shutout. The 42 yards was enough, however, as the Huskers offense did nothing much past the last half of the third quarter into the whole 4th.
Nebraska’s fourth quarter woes on offense punctuated a day where the whole team never meshed. Nebraska, after giving up 403 in the first half, gave up 157 in the second half. The offense didn’t catch up though, as the Huskers only put up 44 yards of offense in the fourth.
Tanner Lee’s day went downhill after a decent first quarter. He finished 19 of 41 for 252 yards, three touchdowns & the four interceptions.
Early on, it looked like Oregon was going to justify a running clock in the fourth. The Ducks started off with a 75 yard drive only needing 5 plays to get the lead to 7-0 on a Brenden Schooler catch over DiCaprio Bootle from Justin Herbert. The Ducks got the ball back as Lee hit Stanley Morgan’s facemask, bouncing off and intercepted by Tyree Robinson. Ducks didn’t take long to get to 14-0 with Charles Nelson taking a Herbert pass from the 8.
Nebraska fought back with a 95 yard drive a couple drives later, capping it off with a Lee to De’Mornay Pierson-El TD pass in the right corner of the end zone. However, Oregon ended the first quarter marching it right down the field, making it 21-7 with Royce Freeman punching it in from the 1.
Nebraska answered to start the second, going 75 yards again in 4 plays. Tre Bryant had two great runs on the drive, starting it off with a 25 yard gain and finishing it with a 5 yard TD to make it 21-14 Oregon. That’s all the scoring Nebraska did in the half though, as the Ducks scored the last 21 points in the half to go into the locker room 42-14.
Nebraska got back into the game with two touchdowns in their first two drives of the second half, however. Stanley Morgan had both TD catches, first after hitting a crucial 4th and 10 near midfield, then after a kick catch interference by Oregon and 3 good runs by Bryant.
On the next drive, Nebraska got the ball back via turnover, as Herbert’s pass down the middle was tipped and picked off by Aaron Williams. Nebraska couldn’t do much with it though, and pinned the Ducks at the 5 with a Caleb Lightbourn punt.
The Ducks tried to end the game there by going the field to score. Oregon tried to gain more momentum, going for it on 4th and 3, at the Nebraska 31 yard line on the drive. However, Herbert was unsuccessful, giving the ball back to Nebraska. The third quarter ended 42-28, Oregon in front.
Another turnover by Oregon deep in their own territory helped Nebraska got to 35 points. After a 3rd down stop, Oregon was hit with a unsportsmanlike foul, giving Nebraska new life. Another Oregon penalty in the end zone put the ball on the 2 yard line. Mikale Wilbon, in for an injured Bryant, put it in over Matt Farniok’s butt for a 42-35 score. Unfortunately, that was as close as the Huskers came on the day. Two more interceptions by Oregon, including on the final drive by Ugochukwu Amadi as Lee’s arm was hit sealed the deal for the Ducks.
Nebraska fought their butts off to get back in the game, but the first half hole that they dug for themselves was just too much. The defense got better, the offense got worse.
Next week, the Huskers return to Lincoln to take on Northern Illinois.