versace polo El wishes he didn’t make fair catch
EUGENE, Ore. It looked like senior receiver De’Mornay Pierson El had a good lane to return the final punt of the game. But he fair caught the ball at the Nebraska 43 yard line instead. And he really wishes he didn’t.
“That’s on me,” Pierson El said. “I should’ve returned it. If I could have that one back, I would. But it is what it is.”
Pierson El didn’t return any punts against Oregon. The senior said Oregon was kicking it away from him, which made it difficult to see if his blocks were set up by the time he got to the ball.
“I knew where our guys were but I kinda lost where they were because I had to run over there so fast, so I just wasn’t as comfortable as to who was around me,” Pierson El said. “Once I caught it I looked up and I was pretty upset.”
The next play, junior quarterback Tanner Lee threw his fourth interception, which closed out the game.
Pierson El finished with four catches for 67 yards and one touchdown.
Kalu, Bryant suffer injuries
Nebraska may have lost two key players after Saturday’s game, but coach Mike Riley isn’t sure yet what the prognosis for safety Joshua Kalu and running back Tre Bryant might be.
Kalu left late in the first half with a hamstring injury and spent the second half in street clothes. He limped off the field afterward. Bryant left with a knee injury in the fourth quarter. He was helped off the field favoring his right knee. He did not get out of his uniform.
“Tre, I don’t know for sure, but I did get a little bit better news than I thought about him,” Riley said. “They’re not sure. It’s a knee for sure, but I don’t know.”
On Kalu, Riley said: “Hamstring, hope it’s not a big one.”
Diaco pleased with Reed
Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said he was happy with the way junior safety Antonio Reed played in the second half. Reed forced a fumble in the fourth quarter which led to Nebraska cutting the Oregon lead to 42 35.
Reed replaced senior safety Joshua Kalu after Kalu left the game with a leg injury. Kalu was in street clothes for the second half.
“Good, good,” Diaco said of Reed’s game. “A challenging circumstance. He’s gonna play a lot, and he’s settled into his game. He learned in the game, in the second half he learned in the second half.”
Redshirt freshman corner DiCaprio Bootle also was pleased with the way Reed performed.
“Antonio did his job, he stepped up,
I’m happy for my brother,” Bootle said. “He’s a funny guy. Always making somebody laugh, always joking on somebody. We go back and forth on the jokes, but when it comes down to it, we know we can depend on him.”
Diaco went even broader, adding he liked the way his entire defense played.
“(There’s) not one player I’m not just in love and on fire for and to teach,” Diaco said. “And they’re all trying as hard as we can try. We’re all trying as hard as we can try. And we’re all getting better.”
Farniok steps in line for start
Starting right tackle David Knevel did not suit up for the game. He’s out with a foot injury. That meant redshirt freshman tackle Matt Farniok got the first start of his career.
Farniok, one of Nebraska’s highest rated commits in the 2016 class, said he found out Wednesday he’d be getting his first start, and his approach was the same as it’s always been.
“It’s just playing football. That’s what I’ve done since third grade. It’s the same thing, just a bigger stage,” Farniok said.
Overall, he thought he could’ve played better. The offensive line helped running back Tre Bryant rush for 107 yards, but they didn’t protect quarterback Tanner Lee all that well.
Farniok said he knows of a thing or two he needs to improve on for next week. But he was happy how quickly he settled into his role, despite starting his first game on the road.
“I was really amped up really ready to go and then as I got into the game, the more I got comfortable and felt more ready to play,” he said.
Lightbourn plays close to home
Caleb Lightbourn had a chance to kick in front of more family than usual Saturday afternoon. His hometown of Camas, Washington, is, after all, only 130 miles north of Autzen Stadium on Interstate 5.
The sophomore punter’s review of his performance coming in front of his mom, grandparents,
aunt and uncle was merely so so.