What a week for Nebraska football. After having opportunities to put Arkansas State away in the 4th quarter, Nebraska stumbled its way to a 43-36 win over the Red Wolves. There was a lot of hubbub about Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco’s new defense (and a lot more about his lack of a press conference after the game) which, in this writer’s opinion, is much ado about nothing. The defense wasn’t very good, let’s make no mistake, but they played much better than it would seem on paper. Considering the 2nd half performance coupled with the fact that nine ASU points came from a punt return and a safety, the Huskers didn’t look irredeemable.
But that was last week and the talent presumably takes a huge step up. Vegas sure seems to think so, anyway, where Nebraska is a two touchdown underdog. I’m not quite convinced, dear readers. This isn’t the Oregon of the past. There is no Marcus Mariota walking through the tunnel in Eugene but neither is Nebraska the juggernaut of days long past. There are a lot of questions for both teams after last week despite Oregon’s big win over Southern Utah. What are the keys for Nebraska to begin the season 2-0? Oh, I’ve got your answers right here.
Control the Tempo
Easier said than done although, as I said, this isn’t the Chip Kelly high-flying Ducks machine it once was. Even still, the Ducks have an all-star back in Royce Freeman that the Huskers need to keep off of the field. Nebraska was pretty good against the run last week but Oregon will present an new, more talented test. Husker QB Tanner Lee and company need to control the clock, run the ball and stay on the field to limit Oregon’s opportunities. The Huskers can’t get caught in the trap of playing Oregon’s way.
Nebraska was able to get the ball from ASU’s offense in week 1 and they’ll have to find a way to do that again on Saturday. It’s no secret that college football games are won and lost on a turnover battle. So far, Nebraska hasn’t turned the ball over yet this season while the defense picked off ASU twice. Oregon, meanwhile, coughed the ball up twice last week. Find a way to continue that success on both sides and the Huskers have a good shot at winning.
Down the Middle, Drew
I think Nebraska and Oregon are pretty evenly matched teams and that means it’ll come down to a few plays going one way. Nebraska kicker Drew Brown is usually money inside of 45 yards and I expect him to get a few opportunities on Saturday. He could be the difference in a tight football game.
- 6.2 – Yards per carry for Nebraska running back Tre Bryant. It was one game, sure, but he is the real deal as long as his knee holds up.
- 1,224 – Stanley Morgan is on pace (again, after one game) to blow Nebraska’s single-season receiving yards record. IS THIS THE YEAR THAT WAS PROMISED?
- 77 – Points Oregon scored in week one behind a very efficient offensive performance
- JD Spielman and Tyjon Lindsey each have a touchdown reception in the game.
- The phrase “these aren’t your Dad’s Oregon Ducks!” is uttered by the broadcast team even though Chip Kelly has only been gone for five seasons.
- A post-game press conference from Bob Diaco. (Bonus guarantee – Nebraska’s media complains about Diaco not answering questions ‘properly’.)
Huskers 35 – Ducks 38