Nebraska rush offense vs. Oregon rush defense
Wyoming gave the Huskers way more trouble than Fresno State, stacking the box and allowing the I-backs just 3.8 yards per carry and no run longer than 11. Nebraska would love to get something established, not just for offensive success but to chew some clock and keep Oregon off the field. The Ducks were surprisingly gashed by Virginia last week as Cavalier backs ran for 220 yards on 31 carries. This will be only their third game in a new system.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Oregon pass defense
NU clicked last week — after throwing it just 13 times against Fresno State — and Tommy Armstrong almost reached a career high with his 377 yards. The receivers looked good and Armstrong utilized his backs on occasion. Oregon will have some holes, but also feature the kind of speed that can lead to pressure on the quarterback and potential plays made in the secondary. An onus, then, on Armstrong to protect the football.
Oregon rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
One of the nation’s best visits as junior Royce Freeman arrives with 3,495 career rushing yards already. The challenge for Nebraska will be to get clean shots on Freeman because of his ability to spin and bounce off tackles. If they miss, the Huskers will start getting heavier doses of the Heisman Trophy candidate. Oregon started the season with four freshmen on its offensive line, but Ducks always are among the best at developing them.
Oregon pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Twelve months ago this would have been 3½ hours of receivers running open through the Husker secondary. It will remain a great challenge, but NU now has a settled situation at cornerback, a third-year starter at one of its safety spots and better feel for what it’s doing. The Ducks will complete a high percentage of their throws (they always do) but Nebraska must find a way to limit the big plays that usually are followed by Oregon going even faster.
Nebraska has had obvious issues with its punting game — a block, bad fake and 24.6-yard net average — and also failed to generate anything on returns. Oregon has allowed very little on both punt returns and kickoff returns, so NU will have to work for what it gets. The Ducks also have one of the nation’s best threats with Charles Nelson. Both Drew Brown and Aidan Schneider have been steady, as expected, and will be up to the kicking task if it’s close at the end.
Oregon is riding a stretch where it knows how to win, and expects to win, much like the Nebraska of the 1990s. The Huskers are still trying to regain that touch. A lot has been made of how NU head coach Mike Riley and defensive coordinator Mark Banker know the Ducks, but the same goes in reverse. Nebraska will have to clean up its penalties (can they do it?) and win another turnover battle. It should be a good home environment, but nothing Oregon doesn’t know.
Key matchup: Oregon receivers vs. Nebraska secondary
Oregon is full of explosive talent at tight end and receiver, including an Olympic hurdler (Devon Allen). The Nebraska starting cornerbacks (Chris Jones, Joshua Kalu) have been very good to open the season, and the Husker secondary already has seven interceptions. Can NU handle Darren Carrington, Charles Nelson, Dwayne Stanford and Allen, along with tight end Pharaoh Brown?
Look for the teams to trade scores for a while, and then maybe a turnover or two dictating how the game swings. This is quarterback Dakota Prukop’s first “big game” with the Ducks, but the senior has played a lot of football and is running an offense that will work for him if he does his part. Nebraska has gotten the better of the fourth quarter the last two weeks (50-0), but Oregon won seven more games over the past two years than Fresno State and Wyoming combined.
Our prediction: Oregon 44, Nebraska 42
Big Red Today coverage
World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon logged on Monday for a special edition of “Husker Talk Live.”
What if I told you that the biggest game on college football’s 2017 opening weekend could easily become a rematch in the College Football Playoff? Same teams — even the same stadium! Alabama and Florida State square off in Atlanta…
Don’t let him leave the building. As Nebraska coach Mike Riley had an instant, perfect click with Bob Diaco late last week, the prevailing mood among Husker staffers was that Riley, in a whirlwind, had found the man to take…
Mike Riley chose to not renew the contract of his longtime defensive coordinator — Mark Banker — after watching film of the Huskers' 38-24 loss to Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.
Watch a replay of the Huskers' press conference as Mike Riley and Bob Diaco take to the podium to discuss Nebraska's new face in the defensive coordinator role.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley turned to Diaco after deciding to part ways with longtime coordinator Mark Banker, and Riley and Diaco appeared at an introductory press conference Friday to discuss the last 10 days and the future of the Husker…
New defensive coordinator Bob Diaco won the room. He won the press conference. And Mike Riley won. Again. He’s gone 6-7 and 9-4 in two seasons. But in the offseason Riley is a sparkling 2-0.
247Sports, Rivals and Scout have all released their final batch of rankings of the nation’s top college football prospects, and Tyjon Lindsey leads the way among Husker commits according to all four services.
As Nebraska football finishes its 2017 recruiting class and gears up to start the 2018 cycle, Ryan Gunderson’s departure from the player personnel department should not go unnoticed.
Nebraska and Iowa — and possibly a SEC school — will square off for a tall, sure-handed tight end in the final weeks before signing day.
Nebraska gave scholarships to at least three Husker in-state walk-ons Wednesday: Fullback Luke McNitt, I-back Austin Rose and wideout Bryan Reimers.
Nebraska received on Wednesday a coveted commit from one of Los Angeles’ top talent hubs – for next year’s recruiting class. NU wouldn’t mind getting a few commits for the 2017 recruiting cycle from Los Angeles Hawkins High School. For…
Bob Diaco's first public comments as Nebraska's defensive coordinator underlined his passion for the new job, his new boss and returning to the Big Ten.
Nebraska got the biggest commit of the 2017 recruiting cycle on Saturday, when top 100 prospect Tyjon Lindsey flipped from Ohio State to the Huskers. But NU wideouts coach Keith Williams isn't done on the trail.
Nebraska doesn’t have a defensive back committed to its 2017 recruiting class with two weeks left until national signing day, but the Huskers are about to host two of their top targets, and another is set to announce his commitment…
Take a closer look at the game and you see that staff turnover is commonplace in big-time college football. Some head coaches replace an assistant every season. That wasn’t the Nebraska way, not the old Nebraska way. But then, that…
For a second straight recruiting cycle, Nebraska snagged an in-state commitment just before signing day — flipping a prospect from Wyoming.
Nebraska has been trying to get back to the Big Ten championship game since 2012. Bob Elliott thinks Bob Diaco can help it get there as the new defensive coordinator.
Should the Mike Riley era at Nebraska turn out to be a big winner, the last seven days might be remembered as the Riley Rally.
Saturday was a big day for Nebraska football with the Huskers landing a commitment from four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey.
As he built one of the best defenses in the nation, Bob Diaco would arrive before dawn at Notre Dame’s football offices and usually be one of the last to leave. He loved the film room, and wanted his players…
Four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey announced on Saturday that he was committing to Nebraska, days after he dropped his commitment to Ohio State. World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon has five quick thoughts on what landing Lindsey means for the Huskers.
Nebraska officially announced Bob Diaco as its defensive coordinator Saturday, three days after coach Mike Riley dismissed his longtime coordinator, Mark Banker. The World-Herald had reported the expected move on Friday night.
Bob Diaco went from pads on his shoulders to whistle around his neck, and somehow made the transition in the Iowa football program without changing himself.
You always remember your first time. Mine was on Oct. 2, 1966. My father and I drove down from Escondido, California, about 30 miles to Balboa Stadium, in the middle of gorgeous Balboa Park near downtown San Diego.
Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker — a longtime friend, confidant and assistant to coach Mike Riley — learned over the phone he wouldn't be returning as a Husker coach.
Dallas Bishop Dunne defensive tackle Damion Daniels will announce his college choice on Feb. 1 — national signing day — his father, Tony Daniels, told The World-Herald Friday.
Not only did the Huskers visit with some of their top targets — players they want to add before national signing day — but they also checked on recruits they’ve had committed for months.
Nebraska football will name former Notre Dame defensive coordinator and former Connecticut coach Bob Diaco as its new defensive coordinator, multiple sources confirmed to The World-Herald Friday.
The World-Herald confirmed through several sources Thursday that coach Mike Riley may be leaning toward a coach with experience with the 3-4.