Associated Press

Oregon starts fast, hangs on to outlast Nebraska

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Oregon used 14-0 runs to begin and end the first half to claim a 42-14 lead at the half. It would need each and every one of those points as Nebraska pitched a shutout in the second half, but the Ducks still held on for a 42-35 win.

The Ducks (2-0) opened the game with a 75-yard drive capped by a 32-yard strike from Justin Herbert to Brenden Schooler, then intercepted Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee on the Huskers’ first play from scrimmage. Five plays later Herbert fired his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, an 8-yarder to Charles Nelson.

The teams traded touchdowns through the remainder of the first quarter and into the second until Oregon posted a 21-0 run to close the half, turning a 21-14 track meet into a 42-14 lapping, with scoring runs from Royce Freeman and Kani Benoit and, aided by another Lee pick inside his own territory, a third scoring strike from Herbert with 39 ticks left until the break.

Oregon closed the first half with 409 yards of total offense — Herbert was 21-of-25 for 313 yards — and the idea of Nebraska (1-1) defensive coordinator Bob Diaco making second-half adjustments seemed like a dark joke.

And then the second half started.

Nebraska moved 75 yards to pull within 42-21 to open the third quarter, then forced a three-and-out and raced 53 yards to pull within 42-28. And then Herbert was intercepted by Nebraska’s Aaron Williams, but the Huskers gained only two yards on the ensuing possession. This would be a theme for Nebraska.

Oregon’s next touch ended on a turnover on downs, but Lee was intercepted for a third time. The Ducks’ next possession missed a field goal, and then a punt, but Nebraska failed to take advantage both times. Finally, after a Freeman fumble with 5:50 left in the fourth quarter, Nebraska pulled within 42-35 on a 2-yard Mikale Wilbon run.

Oregon went three-and-out again on its next possession, and suddenly Nebraska had the ball at its own 43 and more than two minutes remaining with a chance to tie the game. But Lee was pressured into his fourth interception, into the arms of Ugochukwu Amadi. Oregon would not score in the second half, but Oregon would not need to score in the second half.

Herbert finished the day hitting 25-of-33 throws for 365 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while Freeman pounded out 29 carries for 153 yards and two scores. Oregon rolled out 566 yards of total offense, well short of the Nebraska opponent record of 656. Nebraska ran for 109 yards as a team, while Lee was 19-of-41 for 252 yards with three scores and four costly interceptions.

CB Tony Butler posts classy, heartfelt goodbye in announcing transfer from Nebraska

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Thanks to a Nebraska football player, we won’t have to go through an entire day without a portal post.  Hurray?

Late this past week, Tony Butler announced in a very classy, heartfelt post on Twitter that he will be entering the NCAA transfer database.  The move would serve as the first step in a departure from the Nebraska football program.

The cornerback could also return to the Nebraska football team if he so desires.

That said, Butler would be leaving the Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.

“In 2016, I came here as an 18-year-old kid lost and looking for a home.  Nebraska, you became my home and brought me in with open arms,” Butler wrote. “This place became very special. …

“Nebraska, you have done an incredible job at helping a lost boy become a man.  My family and I are forever grateful for this opportunity.”

A three-star 2016 signee, Butler was rated as the No. 22 player regardless of position in the state of Ohio.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

The past three seasons, Butler played in 27 games.  Four of those appearances came in 2019, which was likely the trigger for the decision to transfer.  Most of the games played came on special teams.

Butler is the third player to leave the Nebraska football program in a week.

Linebacker Pernell Jefferson, a three-star 2016 signee, entered the portal Wednesday.  Days before that, offensive lineman John Raridon decided to retire from football to pursue a career in architecture.

Five-star Penn State WR Justin Shorter tweets transfer to Florida

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The Florida Gators football program is the latest to benefit from Ye Olde Transfer Portal.

In late November, Justin Shorter took the initial step in transferring from Penn State by entering the NCAA database.  Two months to the day later, the wide receiver took to Twitter to announce that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career as part of the Florida Gators football team.

As of yet, UF has not announced Shorter’s addition to the roster.

A five-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class, Shorter was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 8 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only defensive end Micah Parsons was rated higher than Shorter in Franklin’s class that year.

Limited to four games as a true freshman in large part because of injuries, Shorter caught three passes for 20 yards in 2018.  In 11 games this season, Shorter caught 12 passes for 137 yards.

Barring the unexpected, Shorter will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He would then have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2021.

World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash

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As is the case across the entire world of sports, college football is reacting to the devastating news involving Kobe Bryant.

Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event.  The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.

Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters.  The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.

In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.

 

Georgia state rep. proposes pay-for-play legislation with a twist that will make no one happy

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Ever since California’s SB 206 passed last September, more than a dozen states followed with their own versions of the Golden State’s Fair Pay to Play Act, to go along with a number of concurrent pushes in Washington. No matter your stance on the pay-for-play issue or what side of the political aisle you sit on, it seems we can all agree that politicians are not the people to solve this issue, and yet the NCAA kept dragging its feet, and dragging its feet, and draaaaggging its feeetttt and, well, here we are. And Sandra Scott‘s bill a large reason why.

Scott, a state representative in Georgia (D-Rex) has introduced HB 766, a type of compromise bill that will make no one happy.

The appeal, at least from the outside, of California’s SB 206, is that it would allow college athletes to capitalize on their popularity during the lifetime of that popularity while costing the school very little money, since the money would come from third-parties.

Scott’s bill does neither. In fact, it goes out of its way to do the opposite.

According to HB 766, Georgia would require its schools to set aside a third of all monies earned in postseason play into an escrow account, which would then be given to players upon graduation.

Read for yourself below.

To recap, Scott’s bill would cost the schools millions of dollars and also shut out a lot of the players who generate those millions. Why should, say, Jake Fromm be barred from having a hand in the money he produced for Georgia just because he went pro?

In short, Scott’s (well-meaning) bill would anger both schools and athletes while continuing the overly paternalistic attitudes adults have adopted toward college athletes that applies to no other demographic in college sports.