Huskers eye Ducks after routing turnover-prone Wyoming 52-17
Bring on Oregon.
Nebraska tuned up for the No. 24 Ducks with a 52-17 victory over Wyoming, which trailed by seven points late in the third quarter but saw the game get out of control because of Josh Allen's six turnovers, all in the second half Saturday.
Now a Nebraska program trying to regain national relevance can turn its full attention to one of the most anticipated games in Lincoln in years.
"Oregon, they're no joke," said Jordan Westerkamp, who caught two ofTommy Armstrong Jr.'s three touchdown passes and had 105 yards on four receptions. "They're a top program in the entire nation. This will be our first big test. We have to take them extremely serious and have a great week of practice because they're going to come ready to play.
"If we can get a win against Oregon, that'll be huge for our program. On a national level, just beating a team like that should propel us forward in a lot of people's minds."
Nebraska (2-0), which ran on 51 of 64 plays in last week's 43-10 win over Fresno State, relied on the pass against Wyoming (1-1). Armstrong was 20 of 34 for 377 yards, and the Huskers finished with 412 yards through the air after backup Ryker Fyfe played the last two series.
Armstrong set the school career record for touchdown passes, with his 57th coming on a 9-yard pass to Westerkamp in the fourth quarter. The fourth-year starting QB was presented the game ball in the locker room for his accomplishment.
"I couldn't do it without those guys," Armstrong said. "They did a great job making plays - a bunch of catches and yards after contact. We have a lot of season left, and I'm excited about those guys out wide."
Six of Wyoming's last seven second-half possessions ended with turnovers - five interceptions and a bad lateral by Allen that was counted as a fumble - and the Huskers scored 28 points in the fourth quarter.
"There was a tipping point in the game, and sometimes they get away from you. That one did," Cowboys coach Craig Bohl said. "I don't know where the exact tipping point was, but it was after one of those interceptions. The score started getting tough."
Kieron Williams ran back an interception 23 yards for a touchdown, and Nate Gerry picked off two passes.
"I think it's great to be 2-0 going into this game," Nebraska coach Mike Riley said. "The more you win, the more exciting the next game gets. This one, being who they are and what they mean nationally and where we want to go, this is exciting."
WYOMING: The Cowboys hung with the Huskers for three quarters, but there was no way Wyoming was going to survive six turnovers - all in the second half. Allen did show flashes, like when he rolled right and threw a perfect strike on a 35-yard pass to Gentry for touchdown on a fourth-and-12 late in the first half.
NEBRASKA: The Huskers put up some big offensive numbers, but they struggled again with personal fouls and other penalties, which could come back to bite them against better opponents. The defense shut down Wyoming star running back Brian Hill - good preparation for Oregon's Royce Freeman next week.
WYOMING: Gentry had seven catches for 124 yards with one touchdown and now has five career 100-yard games, including two straight.
NEBRASKA: Alonzo Moore had three catches for a career-high 109 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown. The Huskers' five interceptions were the most since they picked off five passes against Idaho in 2010.
WYOMING: The Cowboys return home to play UC Davis of the FCS Big Sky Conference for the first time. The teams have a one-game contract, with Wyoming paying a $400,000 guarantee.
NEBRASKA: The Huskers' game against Oregon is especially meaningful to Riley, the former Oregon State coach who was 4-10 against the Ducks with his usually-outmanned Beaver teams (1997-98, 2003-14).
"We went into the fourth quarter down seven. It was within reach. It just didn't happen... Everyone's hurting. I'm hurting. I take this one completely on myself. I didn't put our team in a position to win," Allen said.