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Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Oregon Ducks Point Spread - Pick

Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 4:30PM EST
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
TV: Fox

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: NEB +13.5/ORE -13.5
Over/Under Total: 73.5

The Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Eugene on Saturday to face the Oregon Ducks in a key battle for both teams. Each squad emerged victorious in less-than demanding opening week games. Nebraska got a competitive game from Arkansas State and emerged with a 43-36 win. Oregon, meanwhile, ran over Southern Utah, 77-21. But whoever wins this game can move ahead with a lot of optimism, so expect a hard-played game in Oregon this Saturday.

Nebraska could rally use a good season. They've had some good years in the recent past, but nothing approaching the level that they used to regularly attain. Head coach Mike Riley is in his third season and after a 7-0 start last season, things fell apart badly. But with Riley's style different than his predecessor, maybe having all his recruits in the mix will resonate well. One of those guys is QB Tanner Lee, a transfer from Tulane that has some starting experience. He was pretty good in game one, throwing a couple touchdowns on 238 yards passing. Whether he becomes the 'Huskers next force at the position remains to be seen.

We also saw the handiwork of a veteran and capable Nebraska offensive line manifest in week one with 225 yards on the ground. They are led by a tremendous tackle in Nick Gates. Game one was big for RB Tre Bryant, who ran 192 yards and a touchdown last week. Versatile De'Mornay Pierson-El showed what he can do with a touchdown, while also being a threat at a receiver, runner, and returner on special teams. WR Stanley Morgan, Jr. looks to be a handful after going over 100 yards receiving with a TD reception. JD Spielman made an impact on special teams with a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD.

Former UConn head coach Bob Diaco is now coordinating the defense. The score of the week one win over Arkansas State looked closer than in was, but it was not the kind of performance that would bode well against the more-powerful offenses it faces this season. They got some big plays last week with LB Tyrin Ferguson and DB Joshua Kalu getting picks. Linebackers Marcus Young and Dedrick Young had good games, as well. They have a nice mix of vets and youngsters at LB that could really help in a game like this.

Willie Taggart's debut as Oregon head coach was a success, but the jump from Southern Utah to Nebraska is pretty big. Still, a 77-point output is a good sign from an offense that looks to be pretty powerful in 2017. The Quack Attack are coming off a terrible 4-8 season that was a complete fall from grace for a program that had become a reliable power. More growth from QB Justin Herbert will go a long way and he looked good in week one, going 19-for-23 with 281 yards. Among his better weapons in week one were Charles Nelson, Jacob Breeland, and Tony Brooks-James, who also retuned a kickoff for a TD. The U of O has some firepower this season.


Oregon needs big things from running back Royce Freeman, who ran for 150 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 50 yards receiving in week one. He was aided on the ground by 107 yards and three touchdowns from Kani Benoit. If those two form a two-headed monster, it would really give the offense a big boost. The ball was spread around and it was a feeding frenzy against Southern Utah. And while that probably painted a flattering image, they are a potent offense. That has never been the problem. Freeman, in particular, looks like he's on his way to a big season if he stays healthy. He's one of the more-talented backs in the Pac-12 conference.

The defense, however, is a constant thorn in the side of Oregon. Old Taggart buddy Jim Leavitt moves over from Colorado to become Oregon's coordinator. It can't get much worse than the 41.4 points and 518 yards per game they allowed in 2016. They do return 9 starters and returning to a 3-4 could really help. Some talent like Troy Dye at linebacker could come around and make this a somewhat-serviceable unit. You have to figure that they almost have to be better. But this week will paint a clearer picture of what the 2017 Ducks "D" brings to the table.

Oregon still carries a lot of speed on the team and that should test the Huskers' offense. This looks like it has the potential of being a shootout, similar to some of Mike Riley's games against the Ducks when he coached Oregon St. But it seems like the total of 73.5 is a bit lofty. We see a combined score that comes out to a little less than that. We're taking the "under."

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting that the Nebraska vs. Oregon game will go under 73.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Cornhuskers vs. Ducks game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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