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OR defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt wants big plays limited against Nebraska
10 September 2017, 03:39 | Marta Robbins
The Husker offensive line opened up some big holes for the running game, but had a couple of missed blocks.
But the comeback ended with a thud on the first play of the drive, as Lee was hit as he threw and the popped into the hands of an OR defender for the game-clinching interception. Coach Mike Riley has beaten the Ducks once in Eugene - in 2007.
Make no mistake about it, though, Herbert will likely not approach the same passing volume that Hansen (46-of-68) did.
The Ducks are also concerned about the Husker offense.
Needing to answer, the Huskers hitched their wagon to running back Tre Bryant. "Everybody knows that. Then they go to the play action off of that, and their quarterback can really throw the ball". That puts his season completion rate at 82.6 percent.
"You can't get any simpler than that, than just kind of feed your studs", Taggart said in his news conference following Oregon's 77-21 destruction of the FCS Thunderbirds in Saturday's opener. "I've got to just learn and grow from them".
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has faced new OR coach Willie Taggart without much success, too.
OR would start the game with the ball.
As is often the case, Royce Freeman, months from an National Football League contract, gashed the opposing defense, pacing the Ducks with 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Most new coaches don't have the luxury of inheriting an underclassman quarterback with star potential.
ANOTHER CONNECTION: Taggart is a former quarterback who started all four years at Western Kentucky.
Last year, USF rolled up 316 yards and four scores.
Nebraska held the Ducks to 103 yards in the third quarter after allowing 192 in the first quarter and 217 in the second. "The first half we were playing a lot of man, running back and forth from the field to the boundaries play-to-play, it starts taxing your body and you start getting exhausted".
The coaches and players clearly have decided that this is the best way for the team to stay together, play for each other, and stay excited and motivated to win each week.
Freeman, the 6-foot, 238-pound back, certainly made his first two years in Eugene feel long for opposing defenses.
OR improves to 2-0 this season with a victory against Nebraska at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks needed only three plays to score, with Herbert hitting Dillon Mitchell on a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 42-14 lead.
"We saw way too much of him", Riley recalled of the 2014 outing.
Said Riley, "I think it's lovely, I think it's awesome".
It was Freeman, though, who probably felt like his junior year would never end. He was injured against NU on September 17, missed a game and then battled to stay healthy the remainder of the season. While the Ducks lead in this one, this touchdown pass from Tanner Lee to De'Mornay Pierson-El was pretty sweet.
Senior linebacker Chris Weber also talked about the defense's struggles. "He can do a little bit of everything".
That was until Nebraska safety Antonio Reed forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter. "It's just to bring us a lot of energy, get us enthusiastic about kickoff coverage".
His backups have been productive, as well. Tony Brooks-James contributed 32 yards in nine carries.
"They're unbelievable", Diaco said of the support.
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