Oct 21, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bucky Irving stars as No. 9 Oregon knocks off Washington State

Bucky Irving rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns and also scored on a reception as No. 9 Oregon rebounded from its lone loss of the season to defeat Washington State 38-24 Saturday afternoon in a Pacific-12 game in Eugene, Ore.

Bo Nix, who broke the Football Bowl Subdivision record for a quarterback with his 54th career start, completed 18 of 25 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a score for the Ducks (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12), who lost 36-33 last week at Washington in a top-10 showdown. UO’s Jordan James added 103 yards rushing.

The Cougars (4-3, 1-3), who were ranked No. 13 earlier this month, suffered their third consecutive defeat.

WSU’s Cameron Ward was 34-of-48 passing for 438 yards and a touchdown. Lincoln Victor made a school-record 16 catches for 161 yards.

After leading 17-13 at the half, the Ducks pulled away in the third quarter.

A screen pass to Irving turned into a 42-yard touchdown as he raced down the left sideline.

After Washington State’s Dean Janikowski kicked a 50-yard field goal, the Ducks responded with another TD, with Irving rushing 43 yards up the middle to make it 31-16.

Nix tossed a TD pass to Tez Johnson on third-and-goal from the 17 with 8:53 remaining. Johnson had a team-high six receptions for 94 yards.

Ward threw a 16-yard scoring strike to Isaiah Hamilton with 52 seconds left to cap the scoring.

The Ducks stopped WSU on fourth down three times, including on consecutive possessions in the second half.

The first half went back-and-forth.

The teams traded field goals in the first quarter, with Janikowski kicking a 36-yarder and the Ducks’ Camden Lewis answering from 27 yards.

The Cougars regained the lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Nakia Watson.

Oregon pulled ahead on a pair of 2-yard TD runs, by Irving and Nix, the latter with 44 seconds left in the half.

Ward drove the Cougars down the field and Janikowski booted a 33-yarder with one second remaining to trim Oregon’s lead to four points.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) passes the ball against the Oregon Ducks during the first half at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Penix Jr., No. 7 Washington squeeze past No. 8 Oregon

Michael Penix Jr. threw four touchdown passes, including an 18-yarder to Rome Odunze with 1:38 remaining, as No. 7 Washington edged No. 8 Oregon 36-33 in a Pac-12 Conference showdown Saturday afternoon in Seattle.

Oregon’s Camden Lewis just missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt wide right on the final play that would have forced overtime.

The Huskies (6-0 overall, 3-0 Pac-12), stopped Oregon (5-1, 2-1) three times on fourth-and-3. Two of those were in the red zone and the other came with 2:11 left in the game as the Ducks went for it from Washington’s 47-yard line.

Penix completed a 35-yard pass to Ja’Lynn Polk, then hit Odunze down the left sideline for the winning score.

Penix was 22-of-37 passing for 302 yards, with Odunze making eight catches for 128 yards and two scores. Dillon Johnson rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Oregon’s Bo Nix was 33 of 44 for 337 yards and two touchdowns. Bucky Irving rushed for 127 yards and a score, and Troy Franklin had eight receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown.

Oregon took a 33-29 lead on Jordan James’ 10-yard run up the middle with 12:58 remaining.

The Huskies’ drove to Oregon’s 1-yard line on their next possession but failed to gain any yards on two consecutive runs. On fourth down, Tybo Rogers was stopped for a 1-yard loss by defensive lineman Taki Taimani, a transfer from Washington.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, leaving the Huskies with a 29-26 advantage.

Penix threw a 17-yard scoring strike to Odunze to put Washington up 29-18, and Nix tossed a 30-yarder to Franklin and a two-point conversion pass with 1:36 to go to pull the Ducks within three.

The Huskies took a 22-18 halftime lead as Penix threw a pair of 26-yard touchdown passes — to Giles Jackson and Polk — and the defense made a late goal-line stand.

The pass to Jackson gave Washington a 7-0 lead with 10:49 left in the first quarter.

The Ducks responded with a 90-yard drive, with Irving scoring on a 12-yard run up the middle. Tight end Patrick Herbert rushed for the two-point conversion to give Oregon an 8-7 lead.

Penix hit Polk in the back right corner of the end zone to make it 14-8 after the first quarter.

Nix threw an 11-yard scoring strike to Herbert early in the second as the Ducks regained the lead, 15-14.

Johnson scored on a 7-yard run and Penix threw a two-point conversion pass to Jack Westover to put the Huskies up 22-15.

Lewis kicked a 45-yard field goal with 2:04 left in the half to make it 22-18.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) celebrates with fans after defeating the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Oregon prepared for marquee matchup

So just how big is Saturday’s matchup between No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Oregon?

It’s the first time both programs have been ranked in the Top 10 when meeting in the rivalry’s 123-year history.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be on hand in Seattle.

And the matchup features a pair of quarterbacks who are Heisman Trophy candidates: Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

“This is what we tell young people: This is why you come to UW, for games just like this,” Huskies co-defensive coordinator William Inge said.

Both the Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) and Huskies (5-0, 2-0) are coming off bye weeks that helped them get healthy.

Huskies wide receiver Jalen McMillan is expected to return after missing the past two games with a leg injury suffered at Michigan State. Fellow receiver Rome Odunze appeared to injure his midsection while recovering an onside kick Sept. 30 at Arizona, but UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb said Odunze is “ready to go.”

Two starters in Oregon’s secondary, cornerback Khyree Jackson and safety Bryan Addison, are also expected back after getting banged up Sept. 30 at Stanford.

The Huskies defeated the Ducks 37-34 last season in Eugene, Ore., on a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining.

Penix threw for 408 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder with 3:07 to go that tied the score. Nix passed for 280 yards and two TDs and rushed for 55 yards and another score.

Penix is the current Heisman frontrunner at +200, while Nix is the No. 3 betting favorite at +600, according to the latest odds from BetMGM.

Penix is averaging 399.8 yards per game with 16 touchdowns; Nix has an 80.4 completion percentage with 15 TDs.

Ducks coach Dan Lanning, previously the defensive coordinator at Georgia when the Bulldogs won a national title, said he’s never seen a conference with the quarterback talent the Pac-12 has this season.

“I think it’s really impressive. There’s great quarterback play in this league right now,” Lanning said. “And we’re going to see all of them. So this is certainly, I think, one of the best, if not the best, that we’ve seen so far.”

This will be Lanning’s first trip as a head coach to Husky Stadium, one of the loudest venues in the country.

“Hostile can be fun,” he said. “I think this one will be one of those environments where there’s gonna be a lot of distractions, a lot of pieces going on outside the puzzle, but we’re really focused on being the eye of the storm, the calm within the storm. And I think our guys will handle that well.”

Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer, like Lanning in his second season, also learned a lot about the rivalry last year.

“It’s fun, and it’s special,” DeBoer said. “It was big going on the road at that time, getting a win there. … You get so caught up just preparing, and you live in your own little world just as far as what the game plan is going to be.

“You learn a lot just so far as the excitement and the passion … Obviously, (Nos.) 7 and 8 in the country. So, a lot of great football is going to be played on (Saturday) for sure.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) scrambles in double overtime against the Colorado State Rams at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Oregon is Deion Sanders’ first Pac-12 test with No. 19 Buffs

The atmosphere will be tense when No. 19 Colorado faces No. 10 Oregon in Eugene on Saturday, revolving around the Buffaloes’ decision to bolt the Pac-12 for the Big 12 following this season.

The Buffaloes went 1-11 last season as the dregs of the Pac-12 and Oregon coach Jim Lanning pulled no punches when asked about Colorado’s departure.

“Not a big reaction,” Lanning said at Oregon’s preseason media day. “I’m trying to remember what they won to affect this conference. I don’t remember. Do you remember them winning anything? I don’t remember them winning anything.”

First-year Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders was irked by the comments. Now the two coaches will be sharing the field in a highly anticipated showdown between two 3-0 teams.

While Sanders uses the comments as bulletin board material, Lanning said during Monday’s press conference that he doesn’t need to revise his comments.

“I don’t regret anything I’ve said,” Lanning said. “At the end of the day, I wasn’t talking about Deion’s team, I was talking about the past and future for our team. But if that serves as material for them, great. I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing on the game or the success of the game.”

During Tuesday’s press conference, Sanders played nice and was highly complimentary of Lanning, who went 10-3 last season in his first year with the Ducks.

“What he’s accomplished, stepping in, taking over a program and keeping it not only rocking steady but accelerating it,” Sanders said. “I respect the heck out of him. I love what he’s accomplishing. I love the way he operates. So I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

Colorado had a scare last Saturday night as it had to rally from an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit to record a 43-35 double-overtime victory over Colorado State.

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders led the Buffaloes on a late 98-yard drive for touchdown and ensuing two-point conversion with 36 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Shedeur Sanders passed for 348 yards and four touchdowns.

But in the first quarter, two-way standout Travis Hunter was drilled in the midsection by Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn. Hunter eventually exited the game and spent two nights in a Boulder hospital due to a lacerated liver.

Hunter is expected to miss multiple weeks, leaving a void at both receiver and cornerback.

“No one in the country can fill Travis Hunter’s shoes,” Deion Sanders said. “He’s one of a kind. He’s the best player on offense, the best player on defense. That’s just who he is in the country, not just on his team.”

While Colorado is averaging 41.3 points, it allows 30.3 and the defensive unit could have issues corralling the Ducks.

Oregon ranks second in scoring offense at 58 points per game and is coming off a 55-10 trouncing of visiting Hawaii.

Bo Nix is completing 77.6 percent of his passes for 893 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. For comparison, Shedeur Sanders is completing 78.7 percent of his passes for 1,251 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception.

Oregon’s Troy Franklin has 17 receptions for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Bucky Irving (8.0 average, three TDs) and Jordan James (7.4, five) have combined for eight rushing scores.

The Ducks are also stout defensively, allowing 15.7 points and 158.7 passing yards per game. The latter ranks 15th nationally.

Of course, stats are secondary in this matchup.

“I’d be a fool not to recognize all of the success they have created on a team that didn’t have a lot of success before,” Lanning said of Sanders. “He’s done a phenomenal job … They are winning games. It doesn’t matter how but they’re winning games.”

The Ducks have won nine of the past 10 meetings.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks coach Dan Lanning during Pac-12 Media Day at Resorts World Las Vegas. tMandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Four-star CB Dakoda Fields flips from USC to Oregon

Four-star cornerback Dakoda Fields flipped his commitment from Southern California to Oregon.

“This is where I always wanted to be,” Fields said. “I’ve always wanted to be a Duck so time to turn that dream into a reality.

Fields first committed to the Trojans back on June 5 but later in the month took official visits to Washington (June 21) and Oregon (June 23).

“I kind of knew on my last visit but I had to come home and sleep on it,” Fields said, “and realized Oregon was where I wanted to be.”

Coming out of Junipero Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.) where he was also a successful track and field athlete, Fields is currently ranked No. 83 overall and No. 9 among cornerbacks in the class of 2024 according to the 247Sports Composite.

The 6-2, 185-pounder with a 74-inch wingspan had high praise for the staff at Oregon.

“From coach (Dan) Lanning and coach (Tosh) Lupoi, who are from SEC, to coach (Demetrice) Martin to coach (Rashad) Wadood and so many others, I have a great comfort level there,” Fields said.

“It was very impressive to see what coach Lanning did last year. He went out and got 10 wins in his first year coaching, and those weren’t even his guys. They’re building something special now and I think this ’24 class has a chance to be a top 3-5 class and Oregon can make some serious noise very soon.”

Fields’ decision comes days after the news that Oregon and Washington will leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten in 2024.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detailed view of an Oregon Ducks helmet during the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

QB Akili Smith Jr. commits to Oregon, where father starred

Akili Smith Jr. will follow in his father’s footsteps and play quarterback at Oregon, he announced Monday.

The younger Smith is a four-star quarterback in the Class of 2025 and rated as the No. 84 overall prospect and the No. 6 quarterback in his class, per the 247Sports composite rankings.

Akili Smith Sr. was the Pac-10 offensive player of the year and a second-team All-American quarterback for Oregon in 1998, when he threw for 3,763 yards and 32 touchdowns. In two seasons with the Ducks, he gained 5,148 passing yards and tossed 45 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, adding six rushing touchdowns.

The elder Smith went on to play four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him third overall in 1999.

Smith Jr. had offers from several other Power Five schools: Arizona, Boston College, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Utah and Washington.

–Field Level Media

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix throws a pass.

Syndication The Register Guard

QB Bo Nix announces his return to Oregon next season

Saying “there’s nothing like being an Oregon Duck,” quarterback Bo Nix said in a video that he is returning to the school for a final season.

The school released the video, titled “Bo Is Back,” on Sunday night.

In his first season at Oregon after three at Auburn, Nix, a senior, threw for 3,389 yards and 27 touchdowns, both career highs, with six interceptions. He completed 71.5 percent of his passes, also his best. He also set personal highs by rushing for 504 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Ducks, 9-3 and No. 15 in the College Football Playoff poll, will take on North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 28. The Tar Heels are 9-4.

Nix’s arrival in Eugene, Ore., reunited him with his former quarterbacks coach, Kenny Dillingham, who was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator. Last month, Dillingham accepted the head coaching job at Arizona State.

“There’s nothing like a Saturday in Autzen Stadium, in front of the best fans in college football. … There’s nothing like being an Oregon Duck. For 2023, I’m back,” Nix said in the video.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive back Christian Gonzalez (0) against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez declares for NFL draft

Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez announced Sunday he is opting out of the team’s bowl game and entering the NFL draft.

Gonzalez is projected to be a first-round pick and one of the first cornerbacks selected.

“I am super excited to see where this next chapter — the one I’ve been dreaming of my whole life — will take me,” Gonzalez said in his announcement on Twitter. “With that being said, I am opting out of the bowl game and I will be declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.”

Gonzalez had a team-best four interceptions for 118 yards and made 51 tackles this season in his lone season with the Ducks.

Gonzalez transferred from Colorado after last season. He played two seasons for the Buffaloes.

Two of Gonzalez’s four interceptions this season came during a 49-10 win at Colorado on Nov. 5.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA;  Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) runs the ball against The California Golden Bears during the second quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Oregon can stay unbeaten in Pac-12 vs. Colorado

Oregon’s seven straight wins have the Ducks ranked No. 8 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2022 season, and they’ll be heavy favorites to make it eight against Colorado in a matchup of the top and bottom teams in the Pac-12 Saturday afternoon in Boulder, Colo.

Oregon (7-1, 5-0 Pac-12) might need the style points from a blowout win just to keep pace for a shot at a top-four spot in the CFP. But there is no overlooking the Buffaloes (1-7, 1-4) for the Ducks to get to the Pac-12 championship game, and perhaps even more success.

The Ducks are lighting up the scoreboard on offense. Since a 49-3 loss to now-CFP No. 3 Georgia to open the season, Oregon has not lost and has scored no fewer than 41 points in each of its seven straight wins.

Oregon has won 27 straight games when the Ducks scored 40 or more points. The Ducks have totaled 500 or more yards of offense in five straight games and have given up just one sack this season.

Quarterback Bo Nix leads the way on offense. He has three games with three rushing touchdowns, leads the conference in rushing touchdowns with 11 and has thrown 20 touchdown passes.

Oregon’s offense averages 525.8 yards per game to lead the Pac-12. Conversely, Colorado is last in the league in total offense at 295.3 yards per game.

Defensive back Christian Gonzalez, who was a top player for Colorado in his two seasons there before transferring to Oregon prior to this season, had eight tackles and blocked a field goal last weekend at Cal. Gonzalez will face his former team Saturday.

“We’re going to celebrate our wins, but as an offense and as a defense there’s things we’ve got to work on,” Gonzalez said, per Oregon’s athletics website. “We can finish out a game better as a defense. It’s just getting back to work, being humble and hungry.”

Colorado will face its third top-12 program of the season in Oregon, as TCU and UCLA have risen to Nos. 7 and 12, respectively. The Buffaloes still have at least two more current top-25 opponents on their schedule, Southern California and Utah.

In a 42-34 home loss to Arizona State last week, Colorado scored a season-high 34 points. Jordyn Tyson had an 88-yard punt return for a score and caught a 58-yard touchdown pass for the Buffaloes.

Deion Smith rushed for 111 yards, a career high.

Defensively, Colorado struggled in pass coverage against the Sun Devils and were often victimized by big plays. Arizona State had 15 plays in which it gained at least 10 rushing yards or at least 15 yards on a pass completion.

“Our offense goes and has a tremendous drive, the defense has to get a stop,” Colorado interim head coach Mike Sanford said via the team website. “Those are the things I believe we’re going to piece together throughout the course of these next four weeks.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) carries the football during the second half with help from offensive lineman Ryan Walk (53) against the UCLA Bruins at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks won the game 45-30. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Oregon aims to keep rolling against Cal

No. 8 Oregon will seek to retain its top spot in the Pac-12 standings while keeping its playoff hopes alive when it visits struggling Cal on Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.

The Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) have gotten their offense in high gear since a 49-3 shellacking at the hands of top-ranked Georgia in a neutral-site opener. After putting up 70 points on Eastern Washington, Oregon has topped 40 in five consecutive games against BYU and four Pac-12 opponents — Washington State, Stanford, Arizona and most recently UCLA.

The latter was Oregon’s victim last week in a showdown of teams ranked inside the top 10 of the AP Poll. Ducks quarterback Bo Nix outdueled UCLA star Dorian Thompson-Robinson with 283 passing yards and five touchdowns in a 45-30 win that allowed Oregon to move up two spots in the national rankings.

A win over Cal (3-4, 1-3) likely wouldn’t have that kind of impact, but all wins count, especially when another loss would assuredly knock the Ducks out of the national-title picture.

Oregon has won 11 of the last 13 meetings over the Golden Bears, but Cal has taken two of the last three at home, including 21-17 in the 2020 finale when the Ducks flew into town as the 21st-ranked team in the country.

Cal has lost 11 of 19 games since then, including 24-17 last October at Oregon when the Ducks, ranked ninth at the time, needed to score two touchdowns in the final 11:23 to avoid a major upset.

The Golden Bears enter this meeting having lost three in a row, but several players — including star receiver J. Michael Sturdivant — have seen improvement.

“I think this team could beat anybody,” the wideout boasted in the wake of last week’s competitive setback. “I think every game from here on out is definitely winnable.”

The Ducks surely enter the game with a big edge in a battle of transfer quarterbacks.

Nix has averaged 272.7 passing yards in his last six games with 17 touchdowns and just one interception. The Auburn transfer also has rushed for eight touchdowns in his last five outings.

“I don’t think anybody can sit here and watch football right now and watch our quarterback playing and tell me he’s not an elite quarterback,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said after the UCLA win. “This guy’s playing at an extremely high level. He makes great decisions for his team.”

Meanwhile, Cal’s Jack Plummer has just 12 touchdown passes in seven games, although he’s coming off a game against Washington in which he equaled his season high with three. The Purdue transfer threw for 245 yards without an interception against the Huskies in arguably his best performance for Cal.

If the Golden Bears are going to put themselves in a position to possibly upset Oregon again, chances are they’ll have to duplicate a defensive effort in which they allowed Washington just six points over the first 40 minutes of last week’s contest.

–Field Level Media