NE vs IL Watch Party

AND, so we go . . . 4-0!

Let’s start with a gigantic GO BIG RED! WHOOO-HOOOO! The game against Northwestern started shaky but ended strong with a win. Tommy Armstrong was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week with his domination, along with the offense. The Blackshirts are back in business. And, I’m thrilled to see the team climb to #15 in the polls. Our Huskers are on a roll!!

Besides the game we love so much, I’d like to make some comments outside of football…

The teams we’ve played thus far have really been class acts. From the declined Fresno State penalty to the flowers on the 27th yard line from the Oregon team. It is clear our opponents know how much Sam Foltz meant to Husker Nation. He sure was a special guy. It is remarkable the amount of compassionate gestures shown towards Sam. Foltzy, as his friends and teammates call him, is certainly missed, but will never be forgotten.

Milt Tenpoir, former Nebraska assistant football coach, passed away on Monday night after his battle of leukemia. Just last Thursday he was able to visit football practice. Social media attests the team was honored to have him. He was a great man, friend, and coach to many. His leadership will continue to guide the traditions of Husker football.

Michael Rose-Ivey, DaiShon Neal and Mohamed Barry kneeled during the National Anthem on Saturday. They exercised their freedoms and rights to make a statement. They are passionate about a cause. History shows us that actions can turn into conversations and conversations can turn into change. While some will agree and some will disagree with it, we must recognize the stance for change these young men are taking. Being the greatest fans in all of college football, let’s continue being the greatest by respecting the choices of all our fellow Huskers.

One thing, I’m sure, we CAN all agree on is NEBRASKA FOOTBALL! We beat the Bull Dogs. We beat the Cowboys. We beat the Ducks and we beat the Wildcats. Now . . .

LET’S BEAT THE FIGHTING ILLINI!

GO BIG RED!

~ Celeste, VP Oregonians for Nebraska

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Saturday, October 1st Watch Party at Duke’s Country Bar & Grill

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Illinois Fighting Illini

Game Coverage Begins at 12:30 PM PST

Nebraska vs. Northwestern Watch Party

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Northwestern Wildcats WATCH PARTY

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Saturday, September 24th

Duke’s Country Bar & Grill

Game Coverage Begins at 4:30 PM PST

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…Husker Win A Huge One Against Oregon…

…No Time To Rest With Northwestern Up Next…

 

OREGON GAME REVIEW

 WOW!  That has to be one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen at Memorial Stadium and a huge win for the Huskers!  As I was watching the momentum switch from one team to the other on several occasions, all I could think was how do these guys (on both teams) keep their composure?

Winner of the award for most heart has to go Tommy Armstrong.  On several occasions, he went down with cramps, only to get back up and throw a first down pass or run for the game winning touchdown.  I don’t know if I have ever seen someone with quite his level of determination and fight.  While in my opinion, Tommy gets the game ball, several others stepped up and had great games.  Ozigbo had a great game running for nearly 100 yards. Gerry had a good game with 9 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Dzuris again had another good game with 5 tackles and one QB sac.  Also, Caleb Lightbourn had an outstanding game with an average of 47 yards on 5 punts, including a season best 58 yarder in the 4th quarter.  The last three of Lightbourn’s punts ended up inside Oregon’s 20 yard line. For his work, Lightbourn was named Big Ten freshman of the week!

Both teams did a good job on offense as we expected, but both teams also made some critical stops on defense…I’m just glad the Huskers made the biggest stop of the day.

 

NORTHWESTERN GAME

This week the Huskers go on the road for the first time this season to play the Northwestern University Wildcats. The Wildcats have struggled to a 1-2 record so far this year, but they seem to always bring their A game when they play the Huskers.  The Wildcats beat the Huskers last year in Lincoln 30-28.  In three of the last four years, the Nebraska-Northwestern game has been decided by 3 points or less.

One thing the Husker coaches have already noticed from the Wildcat game against Duke was the ability of the Wildcats to convert on third downs.  The Huskers will need to stop those third down conversions and keep the Wildcat offense off the field to avoid letting Northwestern stay in the game. Although the defense did well enough…especially in the clutch, the Ducks did gain quite a few yards and broke a few big plays…so there is still work to be done.

Statistically, Nebraska looks like the stronger team in this match-up.  A few notable exceptions where Northwestern holds the edge are the scoring defense, punting and lack of penalties. The Huskers appear to have turned the corner in the punt game based on Person El’s great return in last weeks game and Lightbourn’s tremendous punting last week.  They have also made improvements in the penalty game with only 55 yards in penalties last week. The biggest difference appears to be offense where the Huskers rank in the top 50 in nearly every offensive category, while the Wildcats are generally over 100.

Letdowns tend to occur after big game, but I don’t think this Husker team is going to let that happen…they just seem to have a different mind set this year.  Join us this week at Dukes to see if the Big Red can make it 4-0!

Oregon Game

This last game against Wyoming showed us a little different Husker team than we saw in week one.  While week one against Fresno State showed us a great running attack and very little in the way of passing, this past week was the opposite. Against Wyoming, The Huskers threw the ball for over 400 yards and ran for only 138.  Many people wanted to see a little more passing after the Fresno State game…including me, but the Wyoming game seemed a little extreme.
Looking back on both games, I have decided that while balance on offense is a good goal, you still have to take what the other team gives you.  If a team does everything it can to stop you from doing something, it is best to do something else…and this is what happened last Saturday. The Wyoming Cowboys focused on stopping the run nearly the whole game, so Langsdorf and Tommy Armstrong went to the air…and did so very well.  In fact Tommy Armstrong is now the all time Nebraska leader in touchdown tosses with 57 touchdown passes.  On Saturday, he moved ahead of Taylor Martinez who has 56. It is good to know that Nebraska can both run and throw the ball if needed, and it is even better to know that they will exploit what ever the other team gives them.
The blackshirts looked good again, except for a couple of fly sweeps. I hope they get that fixed before Oregon gets here.  Nate Gerry made a statement in his first game of the year by grabbing two interceptions and making a team high 7 tackles. His performance earned him Big Ten defensive player of the week honors.
The rest of the defense did a great job too…I’m thrilled to see how much better the defensive backfield is compared to this time last year.  One other guy that I kept seeing in the middle of big plays last week was defensive end Ross Dzuris.  He had 2 tackles for loss, a half of a sack and a fumble recovery that he nearly took in for a TD. And how about that turnover rate?  The blackshirts got 6 turnovers this past week and currently are tied for the national lead in turnover margin with +3.5 per game.
Next up is a game many of us living in Oregon have been looking forward to for the last several years.  The Ducks are going to Lincoln!  I for one was dreading this meeting a couple of years ago, but that is not the case any more…I firmly believe this version of the Huskers can beat Oregon. It definitely will not be easy as Oregon is a very good team with great speed, but the Huskers have the tools this year to compete.
Guys to watch out for on the Oregon roster include their new QB Dakota Prukop who transferred from Montana State after a very successful career.  He has learned the Duck offense very quickly.  They also have one of the best running backs in the country in Royce Freeman.  He has just under 300 yards in his first two games, and in his last game, he averaged nearly 10 yards per carry.
While the Duck offense appears to be as dangerous as ever this year, the defense has shown a few cracks.  The Duck defense gave up 388 yards to Virginia and 392 yards to UC Davis.  With these kinds of defensive stats, I think the Huskers have an opportunity to put points on the board. They just need to slow down the high powered Duck offense.
Can the Huskers move the ball on the Duck defense and slow their offense down enough for a win?  Join us at Dukes this Saturday and find out.
Saturday, September 17th Watch Party
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Oregon Ducks
Game Coverage Begins at 12:30 PM PST
 
By all appearances, this should be a great game. Both teams had a relatively easy time in their first two games. For both teams, this game will be their first major test of the 2016 season.  Odds makers have Nebraska favored, but by only 3 points. Also, early forecasts by national experts shows a near even split on who is favored in this game.
A couple things that the Huskers need to clean up for this game in order to win include penalties and the punt game…mainly the receiving part. The Huskers currently have 0 put return yards for 2016.
 
We hope you can join us Saturday, September 17th at Duke’s…doors open at 11:30 AM. 
Duke’s will be offering a variety of lunch items. Arrive early for good seats! Families with children are welcome, however OLCC rules dictate that minors may not remain if a game goes beyond 9 PM.
NEXT GAME
The next game is on September 24th at 4:30 PM PST against the Northwestern Wildcats.

Fresno State Recap…Wyoming Next

Wyoming Game

Before we talk about the details of the game, I have to say the missing man formation on the first Nebraska punt of the day was one of the most touching things I have ever seen. It was a wonderful tribute to Sam Foltz and an indication of what he meant to the Husker football program, his team mates and the people of Nebraska. I’ve watched the clip of that punt formation many times since last Saturday’s game, and every time it brings a tear to my eye.

First and foremost, last weeks game was a win…which is good. How we got there was a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good part (in addition to the win) was NO TURNOVERS! The Huskers ran the ball 51 times for nearly 300 yards and only threw 13 passes. Those who longed for the power running game of the past, must have been in heaven, but I think the Big Red needs to take better advantage of the best receiving group in the Big Ten in order to win down the road.

The bad was the number of penalties. The Huskers were penalized 7 times for a total of 80 yards…several of them were silly personal fouls of one form or another. The Huskers had hoped for improvement in this area, but it did not show up in week one. More discipline is in order.

The ugly part was the punt return game. How many times did they miss fielding a punt? They were very lucky that there were not a few turnovers in that part of the game. One thing I want to know is where was De’Mornay Pierson El?

Overall, the Husker offense looked ok. As I mentioned above, the run game was strong, with Newby, Ozigbo and the freshman Bryant all looked good! The passing game needs work.

Defensively, the Blackshirts looked good. They ran to the ball very well and held Fresno State to 31 yards rushing and 274 total yards. That is a long way from where they want to be, but with a brand new D-line and Nate Gerry out of the lineup on Saturday, they did pretty good.

This week the Huskers face the Wyoming Cowboys that won in triple OT last Saturday (actually early Sunday) against Northern Illinois. They have a big, strong, mobile QB named Josh Allen. He was named Mountain West player of the week for his performance against Northern Illinois. He was 19 for 29 passing and accounted for 315 total yards in last weeks game.

The Cowboy defense held Northern Illinois to 133 yards on the ground (94 yards if you exclude the 3 OTs). They also have a lot of team speed and ran to the ball well.

The Huskers have a good start…can they keep it going? Join us at Dukes on Saturday and find out!

Saturday, September 10th Watch Party
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Wyoming Cowboys
Game Coverage Begins at 9:00 AM PST
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This looks like another game the Husker should win fairly easily, but we have seen too many times that anything can happen in football. Neither team is ranked this week and I suspect the Huskers will remain out of the top 25 even with a win over the Cowboys. The odds makers currently have the Huskers favored by about 25 points. It will be interesting to see how the Huskers do in the pass game this week, and also what kind of a difference Gerry makes on the defensive side of the ball.

We hope you can join us Saturday, September 10th at Duke’s…doors open at 8:00 PM.

Duke’s will be offering a variety of breakfast and lunch items. Arrive early for good seats! Families with children are welcome, however OLCC rules dictate that minors may not remain if a game goes beyond 9 PM.

NEXT GAME

The next game is on September 17th at 12:30 PM PST against the Oregon Ducks.
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RUTGERS

This week the Huskers face the 3-6 Rutgers Scarlet Knights in New Jersey. Rutgers is another one of those teams that Nebraska should beat, but we all know how those games have gone this year. The Knights have a couple of guys that the Huskers need to keep an eye on. The have a return guy named Janarian Grant that was Big Ten special teams player of the week last week when he returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns. He was also Big Ten special teams player of the week one other time this season. His kickoff return for a TD was his third this year.

Another guy to watch for is wide receiver Leonte Carroo…if he plays. This guy leads their team in receptions and yardage despite only playing 5 games this year due to injuries. He has 9 TD receptions in those 5 games. He is regarded by many people as the top receiver in the nation. At this time, his status for Saturday’s game is uncertain.

Statistically, Nebraska is the better team in this contest, ranking above the Scarlet Knights in both offensive and defensive statistics. The Knights do have an edge in turnover margin and penalties.

Several Huskers got banged up this past weekend, but almost everyone has been practicing including Terrell Newby who saw limited action last week. Defensive lineman, Kevin Maurice is also healed and ready to play again.

Can the Huskers make it two wins in a row for the first time this season? Join us at Dukes this Saturday and find out!

MICHIGAN STATE

I keep going over in my mind what was different about last weeks win vs several losses earlier in the year. I’ve decided there were a few minor things, but overall not a lot…largely, the ball just bounced Nebraska’s way last week. There were some painful turnovers that killed scoring opportunities, and there were some frustrating penalties that kept drives alive for the Spartans…but lets talk about the little differences that helped.

Probably the biggest difference I saw was on the offensive line. Those guys got more push than I have seen in any other game this year, and did a great job in pass protection (no sacks on Tommy!). It didn’t hurt having Imani Cross picking his holes well and really fighting for extra yards! I thought the energy level as a whole was better last Saturday…and it stayed pretty good the entire game. There was even more energy in the stands. Although the Husker defensive backfield got picked apart again by the opposing QB, they still seem to be improving (other than the Purdue game). Instead of being able to drive a truck between the receivers and defenders, the Blackshirts were actually able to make good plays on the ball several times. Connor Cook had to make some perfect throws and his receivers had to make some spectacular catches to get their yards. It is certainly not where we want the Blackshirts to be, but the improvement is encouraging.

I actually thought the Minnesota game was a little cleaner with no turnovers and only 2 penalties, but the energy level was higher for the Michigan State game. Put the two together and the Huskers could be very special going forward.

BYU Game

Yea, football season is finally here!  The Huskers have been working hard and we are about to see the results of that work.  Mike Riley came in as the Huskers new coach last December, put his staff together quickly and has been working hard on embracing the Husker Culture and implementing a new system.  To his credit, it seems like he “gets” what the Huskers mean to the State of Nebraska and is willing to fit his system to the talent he has….unlike some past coaches.

The word we get is that on Defense, the new system is simpler which allows players to understand their responsibilities more quickly and swarm to the ball quicker.  The up side is to be better against the run…which was a problem at times for Pelini defenses (think Wisconsin last year).  So what is the down side?  The new system puts more pressure on the corners and safeties to play one-on-one with out as much help.  This could lead a few big plays against the Huskers.  Luckily, Nebraska has a talented bunch of corners and safeties that can help this defense succeed.  A strong line lead by Maliek Collins is expected to put pressure on the the opposing QBs which should help.

It sounds like the offense is going to be more of a partial transition to Riley’s normal pro-style offence rather than a complete shift.  The coaches see the ability that Tommy Armstrong has when he tucks the ball and runs, so it sounds like the QB run will still be part of the Huskers offense. One thing they have asked Tommy to do is step out of bounds and slide a little more to avoid getting hit so often.  The coaches have been working really hard with Tommy on going through his progression of receivers, so we should expect a little more passing in the 2015 version of the Husker offense.

Special teams took a big hit this summer when DeMornay Pierson-El went down with a foot injury, but the coaches feel good about Jordan Westercamp filling in until Pierson-El can return.  Current estimates for Pierson-El’s return are early October.  The kicking game is looking strong.

The Huskers face one of the toughest opening season games in recent history this week against the Cougars of BYU.  The consensus opinion on BYU is that they have a very talented and dangerous offense and a shaky defense.  The Cougars are lead on offense by a talented dual threat QB Taysom Hill.  Hill’s name was mentioned in the Heisman conversation last season until he was injured mid way through the year.  He has some talented receivers and is a threat to run at any time.

Defensively, the Cougars have struggled.  This could help the Huskers as they transition into a new offense.

One of the biggest determining factors of who will win this game is suspensions.  We already know that 5 Cornhuskers will face suspensions this week, but don’t know yet who they are and what kind of impact it will have on the game.  We also know there will be some BYU players suspended for this game due to a fight that occurred during their Bowl game last winter, but again we don’t know how many there will be, who they are or what impact that will have on the game.

This could very well be a close game, but more importantly, it will be interesting to see what the Huskers look like under a new coaching staff.

We hope to see you at Dukes this Saturday to help cheer on the Big Red!

OR4NE Picnic

The annual OR4NE picnic at Dabney State Park along the Sandy River is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd from 11AM to 4 PM. The park offers stunning scenery, walking/hiking paths, disk golf, horseshoes, swimming and a boat ramp. There will be plenty of good food, fun and games, so bring the kids to this family friendly event. The park is generally busy. Please arrive early to secure your parking space.

There is a $5 fee per car for getting into the park. The picnic is free for members and $5 for non-members.

Please bring your favorite side dish or dessert to this potluck event and the Oregonians for Nebraska will provide everything else!

Water and soft drinks will also be provided…for anything else, BYOB.

The picnic is a great opportunity for members to renew their OR4NE membership ($20 for Nebraska Alumni Association members, $25 for non-members). You might even find someone who is interested in discussing the upcoming football season.