Saturday, September 9th // Eugene, OR // 1:30pm PST
WHY THE DUCKS WILL WIN
This team is special. We have the talent and the #tagswag and I think coming off a record breaking win is strong momentum. Plus we are at home and I think it will be a sold out crowd. I think TBJ makes less errors and Herbert/Royce keep up the run game. Plus I will be there live so that’s a great indication that we will win.
Our defense has improved enough to not be embarrassed by consistently getting burned on 3rd downs, and Nebraska won’t manage more than 150 yards rushing. The offense pounds away with the three headed monster of Royce, Kani and TBJ. This sets up Justin Herbert to have time and pick apart a Nebraska secondary that struggled in their season opener. Our strength (offense) matches up well with their weakness.
Royce Freeman is the best player on the field. Arkansas State threw the ball 68 times last week vs. Nebraska and only ran it 21 times, so I have no idea if the Cornhuskers are actually good against the run. But some dude named Warren Wand who’s 5’5″ and weighs less than 180 lbs averaged nearly 6 yards per attempt on 12 carries for A-State, so I think that bodes well for Oregon’s rushing attack. Plus, a really lousy Oregon team went to Lincoln and should have won last season. The Ducks are (probably (dear god, hopefully)) better this year while the Cornhuskers might be worse — it would be weird if Arkansas State’s offense is better on the road than Oregon’s offense is at home and the Red Wolves put up 36 points and nearly 400+ passing yards in Lincoln.
Momentum…and a *fire emoji* offense. Nebraska looked bad, like really bad, struggling to beat Arkansas State last week. If not for a few key plays like an interception or kick return for TD, we’re facing an 0-1 Nebraska team this week. Nebraska allowed 415 yards passing last week (I mean ArSt passed 68 freaking times), but even with Oregon’s somewhat pedestrian receiver crew they should have no problem scoring on this secondary. Add in a run game that looks like it could be a formidable comparison to the LMJ/KB backfield of yesteryear, we should easily be able to score on the ground as well. If Oregon’s secondary can slow down the Husker’s offense slightly, Oregon can win this in a dramatic shootout.
I’ll keep this simple: Nebraska’s defense is trash. On the other side, Pagano could be back, which will help slow down Bryant. Finally, although the smoke has cleared some, coming into Autzen for the first time under the current conditions is no easy task.
Nebraska’s defense looks like Oregon’s last year and Oregon’s offense looks like 2014 again. Oregon should be able to score lots of points. Herbz should have about 400 yards passing against a Nebraska secondary that last week couldn’t stop a thing.
Last week was nothing if not encouraging. QB Justin Herbert, RB Royce Freeman (et. al.), and the rest of the offense all lived up to expectations. Nick Allioti must have loved watching the other side of the ball — classic bend-don’t-break Oregon defense. We had some sloppy moments, but when they settled down, the defense showed improvement and flashes of something that could be pretty special.
The powers of the Swag Surf are immeasurable. The sheer mention of surfing is sure to make any Nebraskan scared, as they’re a dumb land-locked state (I mean, what’s the deal with that?). Provided the gritty, gutty, Huskers can get over this insurmountable head game, they’ll run into the Oregon offense – and after giving up 497 yards of offense to Arkansas State, that’s tricky. Yung Herbz built of stone from the mighty Willamette, known to throw footballs over Skinners Butte by the age of 4, is looking at the Nebraska secondary the way Beyoncé lustily stares in LeBron’s eyes court side. Royce “15-to-20” Freeman hasn’t forgotten the injury in Lincoln last year, and will look to run through the Corn Husker defense with the same ferocity that Mike Riley ran away from the challenge of coaching at Oregon State. The Ducks ran for 300+ last year vs Nebraska, and should have won the game, I don’t see much changing. Oregon has better athletes on offense than Nebraska does on defense.
WHY THE DUCKS COULD LOSE
They big. Might be hard to stop given the newness of our defense. D is going to really have to step it up. No Missing Tackles! #NMT
And we better not lose since I am going to be there.
Turnovers and a shaky defense deflates the team’s confidence. Herbert throws a few picks and we lose a fumble. Meanwhile, Nebraska gashes us with 15 yard runs and sets up some nice passing opportunities for Tanner Lee. The swag disappears and we are brought back down to Earth.
Oregon’s defense is almost definitely still bad. And the only thing I learned about the offense last week is that they would definitely do well in the Big Sky. No idea what happens when they actually face some adversity this week. Going down to the wire vs. a Sun Belt team at home isn’t ideal, but at least Nebraska had to go and win a game. Oregon-Southern Utah was a glorified scrimmage after the first quarter. We won’t know if the Ducks can take a punch until they actually get smacked in the face.
Defense or lack thereof. It will come down to a matter of stops. Nebraska runs a balanced offense of run & pass. They aren’t flashy, but they do what they do reasonably well. Oregon’s secondary remains a huge question mark, probably the biggest on the entire team. Sloppy play, missed assignments, & missed tackles will spell Oregon’s downfall. This game feels closer than it should given how we aren’t sure week to week which Oregon defense we might get. If the team comes off last week’s high & overlooks a struggling but hungry Cornhusker squad, we get the first L of the Taggart Era.
Bryant is a stud at running back, and despite the improved organization of Oregon’s defense they still have a ways to go. Defensively, the second game after moving to a 3-4 will be better for Nebraska, and the athletes on defense could match up well with Oregon’s play-makers.
Oregon’s defense regresses against a P5 opponent and the ghost of 3rd and Pellum haunts one more time. You’ve seen me say, ad nauseum, that Oregon will go as far as the defense allows and this week is another test that will show us what we’re working with.
Nebraska fans. This is going to sound weak, but hear me out. Nebraska fans have been arriving in town since MONDAY. Old-money fan bases don’t mess around, and Nebraska is no exception. They bought hundreds of OREGON SEASON TICKETS just so they could come to this one game. That’s nuts. I think people are really underestimating just how jarring it could be to have your home field sound like a neutral site. It could really throw people off.
Have you been introduced to the Oregon defense yet? Oregon played two true freshmen at nose guard last week, and they accounted for nothing on the official stat sheet. Zero. Just jump on a pile and get half a tackle or something, sheesh… Everyone says Tanner Lee is a potential first round NFL pick at the quarterback position, and that alone gives Nebraska a chance. If the transfer from mighty Tulane can pick apart the UO secondary, Ducks are in trouble. Nebraska will run on the Oregon defense, so unless they force 2+ turnovers and hit Lee in the backfield a few times, the Huskers will light up the scoreboard.
Oregon wins, 49-28.
Hey, can we change the name of this section? It’s just not memorable enough.
Anyway, if you’re betting take Nebraska and the 14 points. That’s free money. I like the Huskers to be slightly better on defense and boringly effective on offense. Big Red wins 31-27.
I put my faith in the Power of Pepsi & Coach Leavitt’s defense surprises us all by making stops in critical situations. Oregon 44 Nebraska 32 #WeNatty #BuckleUp
I’ve been optimistic on the win total for a while and I’m sticking with it. Oregon wins big, 55-21.
Oregon 44-Nebraska 31
A see saw game turns into a comfortable Oregon win late.