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Oregon tries too many 2-point conversions that failed and lose 35-32

Oregon;s propensity to go for 2-point conversions was the difference in this game, the wrong way, as the Ducks failed to convert four times and lost 35-32. The game was an exciting back and forth contest with Oregon gaining 473 yards to Nebraska’s 428.

With both teams seeming nervous at the start of the game, scoring didn’t begin until the 8:19 mark of the first quarter when Tony Brooks-James took the ball around the left side and tip-toed 20 yards into the endzone and Oregon characteristically went for a 2-point conversion and were successful when Charles Nelson dove into the endzone.

Oregon up 8-0

Nebraska though came right back with its own scoring drive that was culminated when quarterback Tommy Armstrong hit Jordan Westerkampfor a 22-yarder and a touchdown. The Huskers’ Drew Brown booted the extra point and Oregon’s lead was cut to 8-7.

The Ducks scored twice in the second quarter when Brooks-James ran in from a yard out for his second TD of the day, but when Nelson tried to score on the point after, he was stopped.

Oregon 14-7.

The third Oregon touchdown came when Taj Griffin burst out into the open field and streaked 50-yards for the score but again the Ducks tried a 2-point conversion and again came up short.

Oregon 20-7.

Nebraska got the momentum swung around in the closing moments of the half on a 3-yard hook up between Armstrong and Westerkamp and following the PAT, the Ducks had a 6-point lead at the half, 20-14.

The third quarter was a repeat of what had gone on in the first two games of the year for the Ducks – Nebraska methodically ran the ball up the middle and mixed in some passing. The result on the first drive of the second half was that Nebraska marched down the field for 75 yards in seven plays and scored on Armstrong’s third TD pass, this time to Bryan Reimers for 22-yards. Brown kicked the point after and the Huskers took the lead, 21-20.

Things look like it was going to be a long afternoon for Oregon a little later on in the quarter when Nebraska again 10 play, 62 yard drive but this time Devine Ozigbo ran the ball in from 7-yards out. Brown again kicked the PAT and it was 28-20 with 4:28 left in the quarter.

Suddenly, the Ducks regained some life and this time it was Kani Benoit going 41 yards for a TD but again the Ducks went for 2-points and failed. Benoit, Brooks-James and Griffin were all used considerably more today because of an early injury to Royce Freeman, who carried the ball five times for 31 yards before leaving the game with an injury to his right leg in the knee or shin.

With the Ducks now trailing 28-26, the fourth quarter promised to be filled with drama as Oregon regained the lead at 33-26. Oregon scored after Brooks-James third TD from a yard out, but again failed another PAT.

Oregon’s defense, played better in the fourth quarter and stubbornly gave up ground, but throughout the second half was plagued by penalties. The Ducks were called 13 times and lost 126 yards due to mistakes, including pass interference, late hits, holding and unnecessary roughness.

Nebraska’s final score capped off an 8-play, 65 yard drive with Armstrong rushing the ball into the endzone from the Oregon 34. Brown was again successful kicking the PAT.

Oregon had one last drive with about two and half minutes left to go, when it was almost within field goal range and under a minute left in the contest, a flag for holding was thrown against the Ducks making a nearly impossible fourth-and-18 conversion necessary, the Husker defense stiffed, forcing Dakota Prukop to try to run for necessary yardage, but he was tackled and the Ducks turned the ball over on downs.

For the game Prukop was 15-for-23, 146 yards. Armstrong was 17-for-33 for 200 yards and three TDs.

Benoit was the game’s leading ground gainer with 100 yards on six carries and a TD. Prukop had 97 yards while Grffin had 68 and TD. Brooks-James had three TDs from his 37 yards gained.

Armstrong was the leading rusher for Nebraska with 96 yards while Ozigbo had 96.

In all Oregon racked up 327 yards of rushing to Nebraska’s 228.

Johnny Ragin III led Oregon’s defense with 10 tackles (five solos) while Tyree Robinson and Jonah Moi each had nine (Robinson eight solos, Moi solos.)

Nebraska was led in tackling by Nathan Gerry with nine tackles (four solos).

Nebraska improves to 3-0 for the season while Oregon drops to 2-1.

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