Early bird gets the worm (fitting for a Ducks blog, huh?) In one of Saturday’s marquee matchups, No. 22 Oregon concludes non-conference play at Nebraska. The nationally-televised event kicks off earlier than usual, with a 12:30 p.m. PT start, so get your clickers, lucky socks and refreshments ready, because it’s almost game time!
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s football action:
Week 3 — No. 22 Oregon Ducks (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 12:36 p.m. PT
Place: Memorial Stadium Lincoln (Lincoln, Neb.)
TV: ABC; ESPN3
Radio: 590AM (Eugene); 750AM/102.9FM (Portland)
Online Radio: Oregon IMG Sports Network
Follow Along: Live Stats; @AddictedToQuack
Odds: Oregon (+3)
Kickoff Weather: Sunny, 77°
Your weekly dose of Duck unis:
The travel gear looks just as fresh #SwagSwagSwag
At A Glance
- Oregon Ducks (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) — For the first time this season, the No. 22 Ducks enter competition as the underdogs. Sure, it’s by three points. And yes, much of the sports world has been divided as far as predictions. But this is a game that has much to offer for both teams. Oregon has a bit more to lose, but this highly-anticipated contest can give the winner some much-needed, national recognition... Oregon enters Nebraska undefeated, most recently downing Virginia 44-26 last week... With the Ducks still settling into Brady Hoke’s 4-3 defensive scheme, they’ll likely rely more on their plethora of offensive weapons.
“Oregon will look to pound on the ground with Royce Freeman, Kani Benoit and Tony Brooks-James,” wrote Chantel Jennings of ESPN.com. “And then they’ll air it out with a slew of receivers who have diverse skill sets -- Devon Allen, Darren Carrington, Dwayne Stanford and Pharaoh Brown.”
- Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0, 0-0 B1G) — While the Ducks have more to lose, the Huskers have everything to gain... Second-year Nebraska coach Mike Riley will face a familiar foe on the sidelines. Prior to this gig, Riley headed the helm at Oregon State for 14 seasons, facing Oregon every year for the annual Civil War. Oregon went 10-4 against Riley and the Beavers... Nebraska is 5-1 versus Oregon all-time, most recently topping the Ducks 48-14 in 1986. Oregon’s lone win came in 1954 when the Ducks walked away with a 28-13 triumph... Nebraska’s nit-picky defense will be looking to capitalize on any offensive errors by Oregon. Nearly 40 percent of the Huskers’ points have been scored off turnovers (35 of 95 total points)... Last week, Nebraska pulled away late to leave Wyoming in the dust, 52-17.
- Stadium Arcadium — For the Ducks’ first road trip of 2016-17, they’ll travel to Memorial Stadium Lincoln, which has been been at full capacity for the past 54 years. The “Sea of Red” is expected to be nearly 90,000 strong, marking the 350th consecutive sellout at Nebraska.
- Royce Watch — Keeping tabs on our Heisman hopeful, running back Royce Freeman needs just two rushing touchdowns to move into a tie for second on Oregon’s career list. The junior needs just 25 rushing yards to crack the top 20 in Pac-12 career rushing and 129 rushing yards to move into second on Oregon’s career rushing list.
In Their Words
Below, you’ll find interviews from Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich and starting quarterback Dakota Prukop, as well as a preview from Andy McNamara and Rob Mosley of GoDucks.com.
“(The Cornhuskers) are playing extremely confidently right now in every phase, particularly on defense,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said. “They lead the country, or are close to leading the country in picks, eight turnovers total. Really well-coached on special teams, and have always been an excellent offensive team. They’re really starting to put it together with a veteran team… (The offensive linemen) are giant humans, and they can move. They pull them, they do all of the zone, fits and power stuff that they’ve done in the past, and they do a great job.”
“With all of the preseason rankings and the current rankings, we definitely have an underdog feel — and I love that, and the guys love that,” Oregon quarterback Dakota Prukop said. “We’re working well with that.”
“(WR Darren Carrington II) has a big game in Week 1, (WR) Devon Allen with the big plays in Week 2, (TE) Pharaoh Brown I think led the Ducks in receptions last week. He got a lot of touches. We know what (RB) Royce Freeman can do,” said Rob Mosley of GoDucks.com. “They’ve kind of gotten everyone involved to the point now where if your defensive coordinator is trying to figure out where the ball is going to go, I think they’ve already established a couple games in that they’re a really unpredictable, tough offense to try to figure out in terms of pinpointing where he ball is likely to go. (QB Dakota Prukop) was making the point of the luxury it is to have so many playmakers.”