In a Big Ten-Pac-12 battle, Oregon and Nebraska may have been expected to put a bunch of points on the scoreboard. The first half has had a more defensive approach, with Oregon holding a 20-14 lead at the halftime break in Lincoln. The main story of the first half, however, has been a notable injury to one of the top offensive weapons for the Ducks.
Oregon running back Royce Freeman left the game with an apparent leg injury after rushing five times for 31 yards. He was spotted on the field with ice wrapped around his right knee on the bench with a towel over his head. The extent of the injury has been unconfirmed, but he has not returned.
Oregon was first to score in Lincoln with a 20-yard touchdown run by Tony Brooks in the first quarter on third down. In typical Ducks fashion, Oregon opted to go for two points instead of kick the extra point, and the conversion was successful. It took slightly longer for the Cornhuskers to answer, but they did later in the first quarter with Tommy Armstrong connecting with Jordan Westerkamp from 22 yards. Nebraska kicked the extra point to create a one-point game.
Oregon expanded its lead in the second quarter with a short touchdown run by Brooks from the two-yard line on third down. The defense came through with a fumble recovery after Armstrong lost control of the football. It was returned 34 yards to midfield by Oregon, and Taj Griffin dashed 50 yards for a score on the very next play for a 20-7 lead..
Nebraska did cut into the lead thanks to some penalties against Oregon’s defense giving the Cornhuskers multiple opportunities right before the half. Armstrong eventually found Westerkamp in the end zone for one last score in the first half.
Police in Lincoln, Nebraska are currently investigating an alleged rape that took place at the house of Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong and wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. No arrests have been made, and no suspect has been formally or publicly identified at this time.
Details from a Lincoln Journal Star report say a 20-year old woman claims to have been the victim of forced sexual intercourse and claims to know the as of now unidentified suspect. The incident in question is reported to have occurred between 2:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Sunday. No arrests have been made at this time, as police are currently investigating and gathering information.
Armstrong is listed as a resident of the house where the incident is reported to have taken place, and Armstrong confirmed he has been interviewed by police. Westerkamp and Trey Foster were also interviewed, according to Armstrong. Armstrong confirmed he and others were partying after returning home from a a game at Rutgers earlier that Saturday.
“I don’t know why that person said that,” Armstrong said in a report by Omaha World-Herald. “We’re confused about the whole situation. From what we’re hearing, everything was consensual.”
“After talking to us, (the police) said you guys should be fine,” Armstrong said.
Nebraska head coach Mike Riley has come under fire before for the way he has handled football players involved in sexually violent crimes during his time at Oregon State. A former Oregon State student filed a Title XI lawsuit that blamed Riley of failing to address an allegedly sexually violent culture at Oregon State that led to a rape in 1999. Needless to say, Riley will be paying close attention to this investigation’s findings.
The Mike Riley era at Nebraska is off and running. And throwing. But BYU is the team with the upper hand at the halftime break, thanks to a 17-0 run to build a 24-14 edge on the Huskers.
Nebraska got on the board first with Armstrong completing a pass to Jordan Westerkamp. It was just a 14-yard play, but Westerkamp ran nearly three times that distance after somehow getting out of traffic on the left side of the field and finding daylight down the right side for the touchdown.
BYU had their backs against their end zone in the first quarter, but Taysom Hill quickly changed the field position with a 24-yard pass followed by another for 53 yards to Terenn Houk and Nick Kurtz, respectively. A defensive pass interference call against the Huskers helped move the ball to the three-yard line two plays later, and Hill crossed the end zone on the next play. Nebraska responded with its second touchdown of the first quarter when Armstrong completed a touchdown pass to Alonzo Moore from 22 yards out. Hill and BYU responded as well when the dual-threat quarterback scampered 21 yards for a touchdown. Hill left the game temporarily for some medical treatment immediately following his touchdown run. Hill returned later and connected on a touchdown pass with Mitch Matthews shortly after Nebraska lost a fumble. That score was the latest in a 17-0 run by the Cougars, and gave BYU a 10-point lead (24-14).
The first half was not without its share of controversy though. BYU defensive back Jordan Preator rolled into the back of the legs of Nebraska wide receiver David Sutton as a pass from Armstrong fell incomplete. Replays can sometimes be left to interpretation, but some felt Preaton took a cheap shot on the Nebraska receiver, who had to leave on a cart as a result. No flag was thrown from any of the officials, with two on the sideline observing the entire sequence.
The game has a long way to go still, so Nebraska is certainly not out of this one given how quickly the Huskers can score, but BYU’s defense is locking in and now has a double-digit lead to protect.