Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal oversees warmups before the game against Oregon State.

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Report: Oregon offers contract extension to Mario Cristobal

Oregon has offered to extend the contract of football coach Mario Cristobal in an effort to keep him with the Ducks, ESPN and the Oregonian reported Friday.

Miami is pursuing Cristobal and the Hurricanes are optimistic they can lure him away from Oregon to replace coach Manny Diaz, the Miami Herald reported Friday. Cristobal, 51, is a Miami native who has played and coached for the Hurricanes.

ESPN quoted sources as saying the new contract offer to Cristobal is “aggressive” and is similar to other head-coaching deals reached recently. Michigan State’s Mel Tucker last week landed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension to remain with Michigan State.

Cristobal is in his fourth full season at Oregon. He is 35-12 overall, including 10-2 this season, for the 10th-ranked Ducks. His Oregon teams are 2-2 in bowl games; the Ducks will meet Utah on Friday night in the Pac-12 title game in Las Vegas.

Last December, Cristobal signed a new six-year, $27.3 million deal through the 2025 season. With incentives, including a Pac-12 title, he could earn over $5.5 million this season, ESPN reported.

The outlet said Cristobal would have to pay Oregon a $9 million buyout if he exits for another school before Jan. 14.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back B.J. Baylor (4) runs with the ball against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Oregon, Oregon State battle for spot in Pac-12 title game

A loss at Utah put a major dent in Oregon’s hopes to be among the four teams in the College Football Playoff, but there’s still plenty for which to play as the No. 11 Ducks renew their in-state rivalry with Oregon State on Saturday in Eugene.

The Ducks (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can lock up the Pac-12 North Division title and a place in the conference championship game next week with a win over the Beavers (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12). Oregon is the favorite, but with the Ducks’ loss to Utah and wins for Oregon State and Washington State last weekend, the Beavers or Cougars could steal what seemed to be a given for Oregon not too long ago.

Oregon State can win the North if Washington defeats Washington State in the annual Apple Cup on Friday night and the Beavers upset the Ducks on Saturday. Washington State can overtake the Oregon schools for the title if it defeats Washington and Oregon State takes out Oregon.

Oregon is the only team that controls its own destiny. Win, and the Ducks get a rematch with Utah in Las Vegas on Dec. 3 in what would be their third straight Pac-12 championship game.

Oregon can reach 10 wins for the 12th time in program history and second time under fourth-year head coach Mario Cristobal. The Ducks are 6-0 at home this season, seeking their third straight undefeated season at home, and another win would be 19 in a row at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon has won 11 of the last 13 meetings — six straight at home — and leads the all-time series with a 66-48-10 record. The Ducks haven’t lost to the Beavers at home since 2007.

Cristobal said the 38-7 loss to Utah was not the program’s standard.

“Learn from it and go forward and attack it,” Cristobal said. “And you’re very real. That’s always been the only way around here. And so it was a good start (Sunday in practice) to get in on things because we have been playing some really good football and in fact, because we played good football up until that point, we presented ourselves with a great opportunity this Saturday. So we have to do the things that we do well, to the best of our ability.”

The Beavers are seeking a winning streak in the series. They stunned Oregon 41-38 in Corvallis, Ore, last season.

Running back B.J. Baylor has 1,200 rushing yards this season and Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in rushing offense at 229.5 yards per game. Baylor is the conference’s leading rusher.

Head coach Jonathan Smith was 2-2 against Oregon as the Beavers’ quarterback in his playing days. He and the Beavers were victorious in 1998 and 2000, both games in Corvallis.

The Oregon State defense has improved under new coordinator Trent Bray, who replaced Tim Tibesar earlier this month.

“We wanted to play well and play our best at the end of the year,” Smith said this week. “We want to be playing in meaningful games, and we’ve set the stage for that.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Travis Dye (26) rushes against the Washington Huskies during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Dye’s career day fuels No. 4 Oregon

Travis Dye rushed for a career-high 211 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries to help No. 4 Oregon better its chances of qualifying for the College Football Playoff with a 26-16 win against Washington on Saturday evening in a Pac-12 game in Seattle.

Anthony Brown passed for one touchdown and ran for another for the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12), who were ranked fourth in the initial College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday night.

The Ducks should move up after No. 3 Michigan State lost to Purdue 40-29 on Saturday.

Washington (4-5, 3-3) took an early 9-3 lead and only trailed by a point at halftime, but ultimately was held to 166 total yards on the day and finished 3-for-12 on third down.

Dye carried the ball five straight times for 68 yards on Oregon’s first drive of the second half, and Brown capped it with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 17-9 with 9:38 left in the third quarter.

Dye scored on a 19-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 24-9.

Washington running back Sean McGrew scored his second rushing touchdown of the game from 2 yards out to cut it to 24-16 with 11:13 left.

The Ducks reached the Washington 5-yard line with about three minutes left, but penalties backed the Ducks out of field-goal range, and the Huskies got the ball back at their 10 with 2:14 remaining.

After three straight incompletions, Washington opted to punt the ball away with 1:59 left, but the ball was snapped out of the end zone for a safety to increase the lead to 26-16.

McGrew scored on a 1-yard run to give Washington a 7-0 lead with 12:14 left in the first quarter.

The Ducks answered with a 46-yard field goal by Camden Lewis on their second drive to make it 7-3.

Dye was tackled in the end zone for a safety to make it 9-3 with 7:01 left in the opening quarter. However, Brown found Devon Williams in the back of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown pass to move the Ducks ahead 10-9 with 5:08 left in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Oregon running back Travis Dye celebrates his second quarter touchdown against Colorado Saturday Oct. 30, 2021.

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No. 7 Oregon seeks to continue recent dominance over Washington

The remaining four games No. 7 Oregon involve an added degree of difficulty, starting this Saturday when the Ducks visit unranked Washington in a bitter rivalry game in Seattle.

The two teams did not meet last season — Washington didn’t have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for the game due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases and the necessary isolation of additional players for contact tracing – but the game is back in 2021.

Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) has won 14 of the last 16 meetings and each of the last two against Washington (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12). The Ducks come into Husky Stadium with three straight wins, including last Saturday’s 52-29 romp over Colorado.

Washington has won two straight and comes into the Oregon game with confidence, but head coach Jimmy Lake might have provided the Ducks with some added motivation after a comment he made during his Monday press conference.

Lake was asked if Oregon, with its nationwide recruiting net and 2022 class that is ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12, is Washington’s biggest recruiting rival. Lake went the academics route with his response.

“No, I don’t think so. I think that is way more pumped up than it is. Our battles are really, the schools that we go against… have academic prowess, like the University of Washington. Notre Dame. Stanford. USC,” Lake told reporters. “We go with a lot of battles toe-to-toe all the way to the end with those schools. So I think that’s made up in your world. In our world, we battle more academically prowess teams.”

No matter the standard, Oregon will test a tough Washington defense that has kept the team in games. But the Huskies haven’t seen an offense with as much talent as the Ducks. And Oregon’s defense features sack specialist Kayvon Thibodeaux and a group that has intercepted 11 passes this season.

Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris has thrown 11 touchdown passes with eight interceptions in 2021.

Running back Travis Dye, whose older brother Troy famously flashed Washington’s ‘W’ hand sign then mockingly turned his hand upside down during a postgame interview after the Ducks rallied to beat the Huskies in 2019, leads the conference in touchdowns with 11.

Quarterback Anthony Brown has been steady with 10 touchdown passes to three interceptions and is 16 completions away from his college career high, set with 158 in 2018 as a sophomore at Boston College.

On top of that, freshman running back Byron Cardwell had his breakout game last week with seven carries for 127 yards and his first collegiate touchdown.

“The stuff that had been showing up in practice showed up in the game. He’s just really patient. He understands how to set up his runs, how to read his blocks,” Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal said.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Travis Dye (26) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 Oregon kicks it into high gear, tops Colorado

No. 7 Oregon reached a season high in points while unleashing in a 52-29 romp over visiting Colorado on Saturday at Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks gained 568 yards of total offense as they rolled to a stress-free Pac-12 victory for the first time since an easy win over Arizona in September.

Quarterback Anthony Brown completed 25 of 31 passes for 307 yards with three touchdowns and was taken out early in the fourth quarter with the Ducks comfortably ahead. He also had a touchdown run called back on a penalty against teammate Devon Williams, but threw a touchdown pass to Williams on the next play.

Colorado scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it 45-29 with just over six minutes to play, so Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal put Brown back in the game. Brown then engineered a five-minute that ended in Seven McGee’s short touchdown run with 50 seconds to play.

Travis Dye had two rushing touchdowns and a touchdown catch to give him seven TDs in the past two games, while freshman Byron Cardwell ran for 127 yards on only seven carries as Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) took a 44-14 lead into the final quarter.

Oregon lit up the Buffaloes (2-6, 1-4) in the first half with 344 yards of total offense, their most in any half this season, and Brown completing 19 of 24 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns.

The Ducks got a 27-yard field goal from Camden Lewis as the first half clock expired to take a 31-14 lead into halftime.

Cardwell — who is seeing more of an opportunity with running back CJ Verdell out long term due to an injury – showed his ability in the first quarter with a 34-yard run up the middle for a touchdown.

Colorado’s Brendon Lewis passed for 224 yards with three scores. completing 25 of 33 passes. Brenden Rice caught five of those passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, while Alex Fontenot had a rushing and receiving touchdown for Colorado.

–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

Top 2021 Oregon recruit Kingsley Suamataia enters transfer portal

Oregon Ducks freshman offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia entered his name in the transfer portal, according to multiple reports.

Suamataia was regarded as the Ducks’ top recruit for 2021, but he appeared in just one game. Suimataia played only 11 snaps against FCS program Stony Brook.

A five-star prospect and the No. 32 overall recruit in 247Sports rankings for 2021, the 6-foot-6 Utah native is now free to be contacted by any schools interested in signing him. BYU is expected to be a strong candidate in the pursuit of the tackle, per 247Sports.

As a first-time entrant in the transfer portal, Suamataia would be eligible to play immediately for a new team next season.

The No. 7 Ducks (6-1) currently have senior George Moore starting at left tackle.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Brittain Brown (28) carries the ball against the Oregon Ducks in the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Dye scores 4 TDs, No. 10 Oregon holds on at UCLA

Travis Dye scored four rushing touchdowns despite running for only 35 yards on 14 carries, and No. 10 Oregon rallied from a 14-point deficit for a 34-31 win over UCLA Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Dye, at one point in the game, had all four touchdown runs on four consecutive carries. Quarterback Anthony Brown completed 29 of 39 passes for 296 yards, but two fourth-quarter interceptions gave the Bruins a chance to come back.

UCLA had the ball in Oregon territory with a minute to play, but backup quarterback Ethan Garbers was picked off by Oregon’s D.J. James to seal the Ducks’ win. Garbers had to come in when starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson had to exit during the drive after a hard hit.

The Ducks (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) scored three second-half touchdowns, two in the third quarter for Dye and a 43-yard run up the middle for a touchdown for Brown. The Ducks also blocked a punt in the third quarter, which set up a score, and star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was a disruptor with two sacks, numerous pressures and hits and a team-high eight solo tackles.

But the Bruins rallied from a 34-17 deficit with two touchdowns, their last with 6:34 to play in the game on Brittain Brown’s one-yard touchdown run after Brown was intercepted.

UCLA (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) got 216 passing yards from Thompson-Robinson, who also ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

UCLA scored on its opening drive, then added a short touchdown pass from Thompson-Robinson to Kazmeir Allen for a 14-0 first quarter lead.

After Dye had a touchdown called back for being down at the 1-yard line, Brown’s pass was tipped and intercepted. But UCLA was offside, and Dye punched it in on the next play.

The Ducks had never trailed by more than 10 points at any point in a game this season, but they tied the score after a missed field goal. A 12-play, 80-yard drive ended with Dye running four yards to tie the score with 2:49 to play in the half.

The Bruins drove for a field goal to take a 17-14 lead into halftime. They held a rushing offense averaging 210 yards per game to 35 in the first half and 121 for the game.

Oregon has won the last nine meetings. All three of UCLA’s losses this year have come at home.

–Field Level Media

Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, center, jokes with teammates during the Oregon Spring Football game at Autzen Stadium.

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Oregon star Kayvon Thibodeaux launches his own cryptocurrency

Oregon star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, considered among the top prospects for next year’s NFL draft, is getting in on the name, image and likeness party in a unique way: establishing his own cryptocurrency.

Thibodeaux told ESPN that his new crypto coin, $JREAM, will benefit in part the athlete’s Jream Foundation, which serves underprivileged youth.

“I feel like crypto is such a new space and having an athlete involved in it kind of changes the dynamic of how athletes are viewed,” Thibodeaux said. “I started looking at crypto in high school and seeing the future in crypto and how far it can go. This was the next step in starting my future.”

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder hasn’t played since leaving the Ducks’ season opener against Fresno State with an ankle injury in the first half. He had two tackles and a sack before exiting. Oregon is now up to No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

In 21 collegiate games, Thibodeaux has amassed 79 total tackles, including 24.5 for loss, and 13 sacks.

Thibodeaux isn’t even the first college athlete to release his own cryptocurrency. Jaylen Clark, a reserve for UCLA basketball, announced he was doing the same earlier this month.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Oregon Ducks running back CJ Verdell (7) runs during the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon, Iowa jump into top 5 in AP poll

The Oregon Ducks and Iowa Hawkeyes shot up into the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll Sunday after securing big road wins against highly ranked opponents.

Oregon climbed eight spots to No. 4 after hitting the road to defeat then-No. 3 Ohio State 35-28 on Saturday. Iowa is right behind the Ducks, jumping five spots to No. 5 after taking down in-state rival Iowa State, formerly ranked ninth, 27-17.

No. 1 Alabama (60 first-place votes) and No. 2 Georgia (three votes) held steady and Oklahoma took over the No. 3 spot.

Clemson, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Penn State rounded out the top 10.

Texas A&M dropped two spots after eking out a 10-7 victory over Colorado following an injury to Aggies starting quarterback Haynes King. The Buckeyes dropped six spots after their surprise loss.

Arkansas entered the rankings for the first time since 2016 after routing visiting Texas 40-21. The Razorbacks debuted at No. 20, joining No. 23 BYU and No. 25 Michigan as the three teams to enter the poll this week.

The Longhorns, formerly No. 15, plummeted out of the rankings following that upset loss, as did then-No. 14 Southern California after losing to rival Stanford. Utah also bowed out after BYU prevailed in their rivalry game, 26-17.

Three games next Saturday will pit two ranked teams against one another. Alabama will visit No. 11 Florida in the SEC opener for both teams. Penn State will host No. 22 Auburn with ESPN’s “College GameDay” in town. No. 19 Arizona State will travel to face BYU.

The complete top 25:
1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Oklahoma
4. Oregon
5. Iowa
6. Clemson
7. Texas A&M
8. Cincinnati
9. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. Florida
12. Notre Dame
13. UCLA
14. Iowa State
15. Virginia Tech
16. Coastal Carolina
17. Ole Miss
18. Wisconsin
19. Arizona State
20. Arkansas
21. North Carolina
22. Auburn
23. BYU
24. Miami (FL)
25. Michigan

–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

Four-star CB Avante Dickerson bolts for Oregon

Four-star cornerback Avante Dickerson decommitted from Minnesota and is headed to Oregon, he announced Wednesday on Signing Day.

Dickerson had a national TV audience looking on at a live feed from Omaha Westside High School as he declared he’s joining the Ducks.

Some pundits put him as a likely signee with home-state Nebraska after Dickerson decided to break his verbal commitment to Minnesota. He is the top-rated player from the state in the class of 2021.

The 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back has a four-star rating by most recruiting services. He’s ranked No. 8 among cornerbacks in the 247Sports composite.

Dickerson had four interceptions, two fumble recoveries, 11 offensive touchdowns and four scores on special teams to help Westside win its first state title in 38 years.

Oregon was able to land all 21 verbal commitments during the December signing period.

Dickerson should help offset significant personnel losses in the secondary for the Ducks.

He’ll also join 2020 five-star cornerback Dontae Manning in what has the makings of another strong group.

–Field Level Media