OR had its first test Saturday against Nebraska, and although it wasn't pretty, the Ducks passed that test with a 42-35 victory, despite being outscored 21-0 in the second half.
It showed how far a newly installed defense still has to go.
Next week, OR takes on their last non-conference opponent in quarterback Josh Allen and the Wyoming Cowboys. At one point, OR led 42-14 at the half. OR turned to Herbert for a spark, starting him in favor of Prukop the next week against Washington.
In of the marquee non-conference matchups of Week 2 of the 2017 college football season, the Oregon Ducks hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Riley said he hoped the captain's hamstring injury was not "a big one", but had no details on the severity.
Sophomore running back Tre Bryant ran an impressive 31 times for 192 yards and a touchdown.
"They're a little bit smaller (than Freeman) but extremely quick and extremely fast", Bray said.
They were, however, far quieter at halftime as the Huskers trudged to the locker room trailing 42-14. "I can't believe it, but they're really good players and they had a good start the other night individually". In a way, you could say that Pierson-El owned that defensive back on this touchdown catch. But Willie Taggart's group responded with a 35-7 scoring run that ensured its memory would be diluted. Sophomore Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert had himself a phenomenal game. It was Oregon's most points in a single game since 1916.
Lee threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, including 103 yards and two touchdowns to Stanley Morgan Jr. In 2016, USF quarterback Quinton Flowers rushed for 157 yards and three scores, while running back Marlon Mack added 107. The Ducks needed only three plays to score, with Herbert hitting Dillon Mitchell on a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 42-14 lead.More news: New minister Alphons is BJP's election in-charge of Meghalaya
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For his part, Lee had a tepid showing. But they held the Huskers to 109 yards on the ground and intercepted four passes. The Ducks were poised and physical up front on the first drive.
"We were so up and down at times", offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said.
Junior safeties Aaron Williams and Antonio Reed each set or met career bests, as Williams finished with 12 tackles and Reed five.
Nebraska won the toss and deferred to the second half. From there, the Blackshirt defense forced two turnovers and helped bring the Big Red within one touchdown with just over two minutes to go. Instead, Lee threw his fourth interception of the game to end it. "We've got an entire month". His production did tail off in the second half, though.
"They may like what they saw in the game film", Riley offered Thursday, "But my guess - I probably shouldn't even go this far, because who knows - my guess is that they have good runners and they want them to run the ball".
Nebraska was unable to slow OR down in the first half, but halftime adjustments gave the Huskers a chance at the end.
"You're going to have to rely on the character of the team", Riley said.