D-III rookie Nicholas Morrow's play opening eyes for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Perhaps the hardest hit Oakland Raiders undrafted rookie linebacker Nicholas Morrow took in his NFL debut?

A celebratory punch in the chest from teammate Bruce Irvin.

Morrow's most satisfying hit, meanwhile, came seconds earlier, when the former Division III player stuffed DeMarco Murray for a 1-yard loss.

It was one of the bigger plays in the Raiders' season-opening 26-16 victory at the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, a play that figures to open eyes on the Raiders' staff and give Morrow more playing time going forward.

Especially with the New York Jets coming to town this weekend.

The Raiders were holding on to a tenuous 16-10 lead late in the third quarter. And the Titans, looking to take the lead, were on Oakland's 7-yard line, facing a third-and-2.

"Really, man, I just set the edge with D.A. (David Amerson) and the nickel, I think TJ (Carrie) was in the nickel," said Morrow, who was in the game because Cory James was shaken up earlier in the series.

"I just got to the edge as quick as I could," Morrow said.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota pitched the ball to Murray, who ran to his right and tried to leap the pile.

That's when an arriving Morrow's eyes got big.

"Really big," Morrow said. "I was like, oh, snap! He made it easier for me."

The midair collision forced the Titans to kick a 26-yard field goal to get within 16-13, and the Raiders never relinquished the lead.

Morrow, who often played in front of mere hundreds of fans at D-III Greenville, said this game, in front of 69,089, never got too big for him. Because after taking a glance around Nissan Stadium during pregame walkthrough -- "Before anyone came in," he said -- he never looked up again.

In fact, the highest his eye level went was to track a leaping Murray.

That should help him Sunday as he makes his regular-season Black Hole debut in Oakland. So long as he remembers the situation, unlike in Tennessee after his game-altering tackle.

"I was like, oh, snap, that was third down," Morrow said. "Look at the film; I'm going back on the field. I didn't realize it was third down."

Morrow's goal going forward, then?

"Just keep going," he said. "I don't pay attention to it, honestly. I know it's a long season. Just keep going."