LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska coach Mike Riley announced after practice on Thursday that senior WR Alonzo Moore and sophomore DT Mick Stoltenberg will both be good to play on Saturday. Stoltenberg was out last week with a knee injury and Moore was limited in practice this week with shoulder and calf injuries.
Riley said true freshman Lamar Jackson will also play, but senior WR Brandon Reilly will likely be out. Riley said the receiver will be “questionable at best” with a hamstring injury.
Some other notes from practice:
- Riley said the biggest key in beating Oregon will be tackling in space. He also mentioned limiting Oregon’s big plays and getting a few big offensive plays to counter Oregon’s offensive attack.
- Riley mentioned the kicking game being key, particularly punt and kick coverage. Keeping Oregon’s playmakers at bay also will be important, Riley said.
- Officiating will be something to watch for as well. Pac-12 officials will referee the game, which plays in Oregon’s favor since they are used to officiating a faster-paced offense, Riley said. Riley always talks to officials before the game but plans on making sure he does before Saturday’s kickoff to talk about substitution rules. When the offense substitutes, the defense is supposed to be allowed to have time to substitute. With Oregon’s hurry-up offense, that doesn’t always happen, Riley said.
- Riley did not downplay the importance of this game, saying he wants to be playing in big games, and the more games Nebraska is playing that people perceive as big is better for the program. Riley said it’s good for the team to embrace the big-game hype as well.
- A good start on both offense and defense will be important for confidence, Riley said. Getting Oregon’s offense off the field quickly and scoring on the opening drive will keep the crowd in the game. Riley expects Memorial Stadium to be special on Saturday. “I think our crowd will absolutely be a factor,” he said.
- Oregon has played in big games before, so Riley expects any nervousness from the Ducks will subside quickly — even for Oregon QB Dakota Prukop, who said this week he hasn’t played in front of more than 52,000 people. The Montana State transfer will settle down, Riley expects, and doesn’t think Oregon will be too shaken by the atmosphere since veteran guys have played in big games before.