Pac-12 football: Oregon holds off Nebraska; Cal avoids upset against Weber State

on Sep10

Justin Herbert threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns, and the Oregon Ducks spoiled coach Mike Riley’s homecoming with a 42-35 victory over Nebraska on Saturday.

Royce Freeman rushed for 153 yards and two scores while Charles Nelson caught eight passes for a career-high 117 yards as the Ducks handed first-year coach Willie Taggart his second consecutive win to open the season.

The Huskers (1-1) rallied from a 42-14 halftime deficit with three unanswered second-half touchdowns to close the gap, but ultimately fell short.

Tanner Lee finished with 252 yards passing and three touchdowns for Nebraska, but he was intercepted four times, including on the Huskers’ final drive. Tre Bryant ran for 107 yards and a score but had to be helped off the field because of an injury early in the fourth quarter.

Riley had two stints as coach at Oregon State between 1997 and 2014. Saturday was his first trip back to the state for a game since he took over as head coach of Nebraska two seasons ago.

Riley grew up in Corvallis, some 50 miles north of Eugene, and played quarterback for Corvallis High School. His dad was an assistant at Oregon State.

During his time with the Beavers, Riley was 1-6 at Autzen Stadium in Civil War rivalry games. The only win was in 2007 when the Beavers beat the Ducks 38-31 in double overtime.

at California 33, Weber State 20: Patrick Laird ran for 191 yards and three touchdowns to help the Golden Bears beat the FCS Wildcats. Coach Justin Wilcox’s home debut for the Golden Bears (2-0) almost turned into a disaster as Cal trailed Weber State (1-1) by three points heading into the fourth quarter.

After Matt Anderson tied the score with a 40-yard field goal early in the fourth, Laird took over. He carried five times on a seven-play drive following a fumble by Andrew Vollert near midfield and gave the Bears a 27-20 lead with a 1-yard run.

The Bears then got a key stop when halfback Kevin Smith barely overthrew quarterback Stefan Cantwell on a trick play that was nearly a touchdown and then Cantwell threw incompletions on third and fourth down from the 13.

Laird iced the game three plays later with a 73-yard run for his second long TD of the game. He scored on a 51-yard run in the first half as he picked up the load after Tre Watson left early with an injury.

at No. 7 Washington 63, Montana 7: Dante Pettis weaved his way 67 yards for the seventh punt return touchdown of his career, Jake Browning threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 7 the Huskies rolled past the visiting Grizzlies.

Pettis set a Pac-12 record, taking a punt back for a score for the second straight game. Pettis’ 61-yard return in the season opener against Rutgers last week tied him with DeSean Jackson for the Pac-12 mark and ignited Washington (2-0) after a sluggish start.

The conference record is Pettis’ alone now. Montana (1-1) made the unwise decision to punt to Pettis on the final play of the first quarter. The senior veered to the sideline nearest where he caught the kick, cut all the way across the field, juked Montana punter Eric Williams and sprinted the final few yards to give the Huskies a 21-7 lead.

Pettis is one shy of the NCAA record for punt return touchdowns in a career, held by Wes Welker (Texas Tech) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma).

at Colorado 37, Texas State 3: Laviska Shenault Jr. ignited lethargic Colorado with a 55-yard score when he picked up a teammate’s fumble on a punt return.

Steven Montez threw a touchdown pass and ran in another score for Colorado (2-0). Leading 14-0 at halftime, the Buffaloes pulled away in the third quarter against the Bobcats (1-1), who were 35-point underdogs.

Stagnant on offense, the Buffaloes received a game-changing boost from the special teams late in the first quarter. Returner Isaiah Oliver fielded a punt, tried to break a tackle and had the ball ripped away. Shenault was there to pick it up and race 55 yards for the score.

Minnesota 48, at Oregon State 14: Shannon Brooks scored three touchdowns and the Golden Gophers turned three Beavers turnovers in 17 points to secure the easy road win.

Conor Rhoda, who came into the game sharing the quarterback position with sophomore Demry Croft, completed 7 of 8 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown. Tyler Johnson caught four passes for 127 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota, now 2-0 under first-year coach P.J. Fleck.

Minnesota’s running game punished the Oregon State (1-2) defense, allowing the Gophers to control the ball for more than 38 minutes. Rodney Smith ran 30 times for 92 yards and a touchdown, while Brooks had 17 carries for 91 yards.

Oregon State’s Jake Luton completed 16 of 28 passes for 135 yards, while the Beavers had just 80 yards rushing.

Utah 19, at Brigham Young 13: Tyler Huntley passed for 300 yards and rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown as the Utes (2-0) held off the Cougars (1-2).

Houston 19, at Arizona 16: Kyle Allen passed for 225 yards and one touchdown for the Cougars, who were playing their season opener.

San Diego State 30, at Arizona State 20: Rashaad Penny ran for 216 yards to lead the Aztecs (2-0) over the Sun Devils (1-1).

at No. 20 Washington State 47, Boise State 44 (3OT): The Cougars overcame a 21-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime after losing starting quarterback Luke Falk to injury in the third quarter.

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