Second-half transformation not enough as Huskers fall in Oregon

Associated Press

Or are they the unfocused group we saw in the second half? Lee, who played two years at Tulane before transferring to Nebraska, threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns without turning the football over. Much of the game was dominated by Oregon.

On the second play of the half, Lee hit Pierson-El for a 34-yard pass to get the Huskers into OR territory.

In what seemed like an offensive first-quarter battle, OR scored again making it 21-7. "They do play some four-down looks and change it up nicely".

"Really, really disappointing start of the game", Riley said. Royce Freeman, then a true freshman, ran for 140 yards and caught a touchdown pass and Charles Nelson had two touchdown receptions. The two years before, though, Diaco's Huskies held Taggart's group to a respectable 4.4 yards per carry and two total rushing touchdowns. OR rattled off 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 42-14 lead into halftime but didn't score after the break.

But, perhaps, too much confidence.

"Late in the week we made a decision to let him go and play, and that the substitution would be done when he got exhausted", Nebraska coach Mike Riley said after his team's win, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Two third-quarter scoring drives pulled the deficit to 14, but that's as close as the team would get.

Seeing red: Of an estimated 15,000 Huskers fans in attendance Saturday, the majority took over Autzen Stadium's west end zone, surrounding the OR band and turning the entire end of the stadium red. This week, OR was up 42-14 on Nebraska at the half and almost blew its lead.

"It's exciting to do that", Riley said of a return to Oregon. Freeman was injured early in the Nebraska game a year ago.

Nebraska stayed with the Ducks through the start of the second quarter, pulling within 21-14 with 13:26 to go in the half. That capped a 10-play, 95-yard drive in which Lee also completed a 23-yard pass to JD Spielman for 23 yards. The defense again came through with a three-and-out to put the ball in the hands of the Husker offense.

Tanner Lee's first pass on the ensuing drive was disrupted mid-throw and an interception sealed the win for Oregon. The Ducks were then able to run out the clock and come away with a 42-35 victory. The former Corvallis High quarterback has won over Nebraska off the field, but Big Red Nation cares - a lot - about the results on the field, so the first-half performance was a concern.

"I did get a little bit better news than I thought about (Tre)", Riley said.

"They settled down and started doing the right things", Leavitt said of the young players. The only win was in 2007 when the Beavers beat the Ducks 38-31 in double overtime.

New defensive coordinator Bob Diaco also noted the defensive struggle the Blackshirts encountered in the first half, but was quick to praise the efforts they made in the second half. I embrace things like this as pretty unique personal opportunities.

With plenty of game left, here's hoping we get some more catches to freak out over.

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