Oregon quarterback Bo Nix works out with the Ducks during practice Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023 in Eugene.

Bo Nix, No. 15 Oregon host Portland State

Ranked 15th in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll, the Oregon Ducks open their season on Saturday at home in Eugene against FCS foe Portland State.

Last year, Oregon went to Atlanta to open the season. This season, the campaign starts at home.

“It’s fun for us to be able to have a home game first,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said. “I’m excited to see our fans out there. I know we’ll have a great crowd. It’ll be a great environment for our players to get to go experience.

“Like I’ve said several times, guys are ready to hit somebody else. And it’ll be fun to play a team that’s right up from this region as well.”

The Ducks are entering their second season under Lanning. After a season-opening loss to Georgia, Oregon rattled off eight straight wins and appeared to be in a position to compete for not only the Pac-12 title, but a College Football Playoff appearance.

The Ducks reached as high as sixth in the CFP rankings, but late-season losses to Washington and Oregon State cost them positioning. Still, Oregon finished Lanning’s first campaign with a 10-3 record capped by a win in the Holiday Bowl over North Carolina.

Among the returners for Oregon this year is quarterback Bo Nix, who is entering his second year with the Ducks and his fifth season of college football. Nix came to Oregon after spending three seasons at Auburn.

Last season was statistically his best as a passer. Nix threw for 3,593 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing 71.9 percent of his throws. He also rushed for 510 yards and 14 scores and finished fifth in all of FBS and second in the Pac-12 for total touchdowns with 44.

Nikko Reed is a newcomer to Oregon, a defensive back who transferred in from Colorado. He’s happy he doesn’t have to face Nix any longer in Pac-12 play.

“It’s kind of hard to bait him to throw us a pick, or bait him to look at another read,” Reed told The Athletic. “He’s just so smart.”

Oregon’s offense also returns running backs Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington, who combined for 14 touchdowns and more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage.

Leading receiver Troy Franklin – who had 61 catches for 891 yards and nine scores – is back, too. Through the transfer portal, Oregon added receiver Traeshon Holden, who scored six touchdowns for Alabama last year, and receiver Tez Johnson, who hauled in 56 passes for Troy last season.

The offensive unit is talented, but will have to adjust to a new play-caller in Will Stein, who comes to Oregon from UTSA after former offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham left to take the head coaching job at Arizona State.

For special teams, Lanning said earlier this week that the competition for starting punter remains open between Luke Dunne and Ross James.

Portland State is entering its ninth year under coach Bruce Barnum. Aside from 2015 – when the team went 9-3 and made the second round of the FCS playoffs – the Vikings haven’t produced a winning record under him.

The Vikings are led on offense by Dante Chachere, a 6-foot-3 quarterback entering his fifth season of college ball. He scored through the air and on the ground last season, rushing for 609 yards and seven touchdowns, and throwing for 1,956 yards and 19 scores.

“Dante’s added weight has not slowed him down and his grasp of the offense has him reacting more and better than he did last year.” Barnum said recently. “We have seen him mature through last season and into camp this season.”

Portland State is 0-5 all-time against Oregon and 4-44 against all FBS competition.

– Field Level Media

An "End racism" sticker joins the American Flag on the helmets of Oregon players Saturday Oct. 30, 2021.

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5-star QB Michael Van Buren commits to Oregon

Quarterback Michael Van Buren, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2024, committed to Oregon on Saturday.

The St. Frances Academy (Maryland) standout chose the Ducks over Penn State and Maryland.

ESPN has Van Buren ranked 18th overall and No. 2 among pocket passers behind Georgia commit Dylan Raiola.

“What stood out to me most would probably be just how bought-in everybody is and how together everyone is,” he told ESPN. “The team is very close. Everybody treats everybody like family and the people in the building, they all have great energy and everybody there really wants people to succeed and they’re going to do everything they can to make sure that happens.”

As a junior, Van Buren completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,707 yards and 18 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Andre Greene Jr. (1) catches a touchdown pass while defended by Oregon Ducks defensive back Dontae Manning (8) during the first quarter of the 2022 Holiday Bowl at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Holiday Bowl: No. 15 Oregon beats UNC on Bo Nix’s last-minute TD

Bo Nix tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Chase Cota with 19 seconds left and Camden Lewis’ point-attempt went through despite hitting the upright as No. 15 Oregon rallied for a 28-27 victory over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night in San Diego.

Bucky Irving rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (10-3). Nix was 23-of-30 passing for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Troy Franklin caught the other scoring pass for Oregon.

Drake Maye completed 18 of 35 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns, while Power Echols had an interception for North Carolina (9-5). Kobe Paysour had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown and Andre Greene Jr. and Bryson Nesbit also had scoring grabs for the Tar Heels.

The Ducks trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter before staging the comeback in the final seven minutes in the first football game played at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

First, Nix connected with Franklin on a 6-yard scoring pass to bring the Ducks within 24-21 with 6:58 left.

Noah Burnette booted a 44-yard field goal to give the Tar Heels a six-point lead with 2:29 remaining.

Nix then guided Oregon on an eight-play, 79-yard drive and hit Cota on fourth down for the score. The point-after attempt by Lewis hit the left upright and went through the goal posts for the one-point lead.

North Carolina had one last possession and made it into Ducks territory. But Maye’s Hail Mary pass from the Oregon 41-yard line fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired.

Maye threw three touchdown passes in the first half to lead the Tar Heels to a 21-14 halftime lead.

Oregon struck first on Irving’s 2-yard scoring run less than four minutes into the contest. The Tar Heels knotted the score when Maye connected with Greene on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 4:37 remaining in the quarter.

Irving broke loose on a 66-yard scamper to give the Ducks a 14-7 advantage with 9:13 left in the half. North Carolina tied the score on Maye’s 14-yard pass to Nesbit with 4:34 remaining.

Echols made a key interception with 35 seconds left in the half on a play in which Nix’s pass intended for Terrance Ferguson hit the back of the leg of North Carolina’s Cedric Gray and the toe of Echols before the latter collected it and returned it 40 yards to the Oregon 49. Maye connected with Paysour on the next play for a touchdown and the seven-point lead.

The second half was scoreless until Burnette kicked a 19-yard field goal with 9:13 remaining to give the Tar Heels a 24-14 lead.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Jordan James (20) runs with the ball during the first half against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Oregon State rallies from 21-point hole to edge No. 9 Oregon

Isaiah Newell scored on two fourth-quarter touchdown runs — his only carries of the game — as host No. 21 Oregon State rallied from a 21-point, second-half deficit to defeat No. 9 Oregon 38-34 Saturday afternoon in Corvallis, Ore., preventing the rival Ducks from clinching a berth in the Pac-12 Conference championship game.

Damien Martinez had his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game, gaining 103 yards before leaving with an apparent leg injury for the Beavers (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12), who clinched their first nine-win regular season since 2012.

A hobbled Bo Nix completed 27 of 41 passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns for Oregon (9-3, 7-2).

The Ducks were 0-for-5 on fourth-down attempts, with three of those coming in the fourth quarter.

Leading 34-31 with 9:39 remaining, the Ducks went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 29-yard line. Nix was stopped for a 1-yard loss on a keeper.

Oregon State took advantage, with Newell scoring on a 6-yard run with 8:11 left to give the Beavers their first lead of the second half.

The Ducks marched to Oregon State’s 3-yard line with three minutes left, but Nix’s fourth-down pass for Troy Franklin fell incomplete and the Beavers ran out the clock.

Ben Gulbranson, who started his seventh straight game at quarterback with Chance Nolan sidelined by a neck injury, completed just 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards with two interceptions.

But Gulbranson scored on a pair of 1-yard runs, the latter with 12:31 remaining, to pull the Beavers within 34-31.

Nix threw a 9-yard scoring strike to Franklin with 14 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Ducks a 14-10 lead following a back-and-forth half, sparking a run of 24 unanswered points.

The Ducks seemed to pull away in the third quarter on short touchdown runs by Jordan James and Noah Whittington.

Camden Lewis added a 42-yard field goal to give the Ducks a 31-10 lead with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

The Beavers rallied — entirely on the ground.

Oregon State got a 4-yard TD run from Deshaun Fenwick to stop the Ducks’ run before Lewis kicked a 24-yarder to make it 34-17 with 14:57 to go.

Newell scored on a 15-yard run and the Beavers got the ball back on Oregon’s 2-yard line after Ducks punter Alex Bales bobbled a snap. That set up Gulbranson’s second TD.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) calls out for the ball in the third quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Arch-rival Washington visits Oregon

The Oregon Ducks moved from No. 8 to No. 6 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings following last Saturday’s 49-10 rout of Colorado. To rise even higher, the Ducks likely will have to win out against three tough opponents, and potentially a fourth should they earn a place in the Pac-12 championship game.

The gauntlet starts Saturday afternoon at home in Eugene, Ore., where Autzen Stadium will be rocking when arch-rival No. 25 Washington visits.

The Ducks (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) start a three-game stretch to end the regular season with home games against Washington and current CFP No. 13 Utah, followed by the annual in-state rivalry matchup at Oregon State.

Oregon has won 15 of the last 17 meetings with Washington, which includes three in a row, and eight of the last nine games in Eugene.

Oregon’s rise to prominence on the national scene means Washington, once the dominant program in the region, is not what it once was, although the Huskies (7-2, 4-2) have won three straight and jumped into the CFP Top 25 this week.

The rivalry is such that on Tuesday at Oregon’s practice, the Huskies’ fight song was played on repeat instead of the typical music used to get the players’ spirits up.

“This is one of those weeks that you don’t have to give any extra fuel for our players to be excited and ready to roll,” Ducks head coach Dan Lanning said this week. “They all understand the significance of this game, how important it is and they’re definitely ready to attack.”

Lanning also had to deal with speculation of him being a top candidate to return to the Southeastern Conference and head up the Auburn program, with Bryan Harsin recently fired. Lanning told reporters he is very happy at Oregon.

“The grass is not always greener. In fact, the grass is damn green in Eugene,” Lanning said. “I want to be here in Eugene for as long as Eugene will have me.”

Quarterback Bo Nix spent the week as the third player in conference history to win Offensive Player of the Week in three straight weeks, after leading Oregon over Colorado with two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and his first career receiving touchdown.

For the Huskies, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. might be the transfer with much of the attention on him were it not for Nix. Penix has set several school records this season, including the marks for single-game passing yards (516), completions (36) and total offense (529 yards).

Penix leads the nation in passing yards with 3,232. He has 23 touchdown passes to five interceptions.

Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer is in his first year guiding the program, and has come to understand how big the Washington-Oregon rivalry is for fans of both teams.

“I don’t know if there’s a speaking engagement I’ve went to where they haven’t emphasized how important it is to beat the Ducks,” DeBoer said. “It’s certainly important. It’s going to be fun, because we’ve put ourselves in a spot where it means something.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) celebrates his touchdown reception in in the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix accounts for 5 TDs as No. 8 Oregon routs Colorado

Bo Nix ran for two touchdowns, threw two touchdown passes and caught a touchdown pass to lead No. 8 Oregon to a 49-10 Pac-12 win over Colorado on Saturday in Boulder, Colo.

The Ducks (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) remained the Pac-12’s only undefeated team in conference play, scoring more than 40 points for the eighth consecutive time, all in wins.

Nix completed 20 of 24 passes for 274 yards before exiting in the fourth quarter. Bucky Irving rushed for 120 yards on 11 carries, including a 65-yard run, and threw an 18-yard touchdown on a trick play to Nix in the first quarter.

Christian Gonzalez, who transferred from Colorado before this season, had two interceptions against his former team.

The first three touchdowns of the game involved a backup offensive lineman, Nix catching a pass and a star linebacker scoring a rushing touchdown. Oregon scored first on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Nix to Josh Conerly Jr., who’d lined up as an extra offensive lineman and eligible receiver.

After the Ducks stopped the Buffaloes on fourth down, Nix caught a soft toss from Irving and jogged into the end zone for a 14-0 Oregon lead with 2:25 left in the opening quarter.

Five plays into the second quarter, Noah Sewell, one of Oregon’s top defensive players, got a carry from the 1-yard line and powered into the end zone for a 21-0 lead.

Colorado (1-8, 1-5) answered with J.T. Shrout’s deep throw to wide receiver Jordyn Tyson, who caught the ball on the run, gained his balance and ran for an 81-yard touchdown. But the Buffaloes wouldn’t get any closer.

Shrout had 247 passing yards and Tyson 137 receiving yards for Colorado. Nix (two) and Noah Whittington (one) ran for the three Oregon touchdowns in the second half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Troy Franklin (11) catches a touchdown pass during the first half against UCLA Bruins defensive back Kenny Churchwell III (23) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Oregon continues dominance of No. 9 UCLA

Bo Nix threw for 283 yards and five touchdown passes, leading 10th-ranked Oregon to a 45-30 win over No. 9 UCLA on Saturday afternoon at Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks (6-1, 4-0 in Pac-12) ended the day as the only undefeated team in the conference and won their 23rd straight game at Autzen Stadium.

Bucky Irving rushed for 106 yards and caught a touchdown pass, while Troy Franklin had eight catches for 132 yards and two TDs for the Ducks.

UCLA (6-1, 3-1) got 259 yards passing and two touchdown from Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Bruins also had 154 rushing yards from the Pac-12’s leading rusher, Zach Charbonnet.

Since a 49-3 loss to top-ranked Georgia at Atlanta in the first game of the season, Oregon has won six straight games and scored no fewer than 41 points in each win.

With Oregon up 17-10 after Nix hit Franklin for a 49-yard touchdown pass, the Ducks seized momentum for good when kickoff specialist Andrew Boyle recovered his own onside-kick attempt.

Oregon took over at its own 46-yard line and marched down the field for Jordan James’ 2-yard touchdown run for a 24-10 lead with 6:34 to go in the second quarter.

The Ducks took a 31-13 lead into halftime thanks to Nix’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Franklin with six seconds left in the first half. The score completed a 10-play, 88-yard drive.

The Ducks totaled 544 yards of offense, with 283 passing yards and 261 rushing yards.

After UCLA’s Nicholas Barr-Mira made a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to cut Oregon’s lead to 31-16, the Ducks converted two fourth downs in their own territory on their way to a 7-1/2 minute touchdown drive that ended with Nix’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Cam McCormick.

Oregon scored again early in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-4 from the UCLA 37-yard line, Nix found an open Irving near the sideline and the back scooted up the field and into the end zone for a 45-23 lead.

Former wide receiver Bryan Addison intercepted a Thompson-Robinson pass into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, ending any hope of a Bruins comeback.

The Ducks’ win left former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly winless against his former program in four meetings with UCLA. The Ducks improved to 15-3 against the Bruins since the 2000 season.

Oregon has won four straight meetings and 10 of the last 11 in the overall series.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) is stopped short of the goalie by Washington State Cougars linebacker Travion Brown (82) in the second half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Ducks won 44-41. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 Oregon carries winning streak into hosting Stanford

After a wild comeback win over previously undefeated Washington State on the road last week, No. 13 Oregon is on a three-game winning streak with Stanford coming to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday night.

The Ducks (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) trailed 34-22 more than halfway through the fourth quarter, but ended up scoring 22 points in the final four minutes to stun the Cougars.

After a rough start to his Oregon career in the team’s 49-3 loss to Georgia, quarterback Bo Nix has been the signal caller the Ducks hoped they were getting when he transferred from Auburn. Nix completed 33 of 44 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for 30 yards against Washington State.

The 33 completions and 428 passing yards were both career highs.

“To respond the way he responded, and for our team to respond to Bo the way they responded, I think that shows the ultimate confidence that this team has in Bo,” Oregon head coach Dan Lanning said after the game.

Oregon has a 21-game winning streak at Autzen Stadium that started in 2018. It’s the third-longest active home win streak in the FBS. The Ducks have also won their last 15 home conference games, which is just one win away from matching the program record.

Oregon’s offensive line has played well, and the Ducks have yet to allow a sack, while every other team in the country has. Oregon leads the nation with a 94.2 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus.

However, Stanford (1-2, 0-2) leads the overall series between the two Pac-12 rivals with a 47-34-1 record. The Cardinal, though, are coming off a 40-22 loss to then-No. 18 Washington in Seattle last weekend.

“We play up to our ability, we’ll have an opportunity to win,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said Tuesday. “This is another team you can’t give chances. You can’t turn the ball over against these guys. Our defense is in for a battle, but offensively we’ve got to live up to our abilities as well.”

Shaw isn’t happy about when kickoff is, at 8 p.m. local time, and suggested that game start times should be no later than 7 p.m. on a Saturday, and 6 p.m. on a weeknight.

Shaw’s concern revolves around the difficulty for student-athletes to get rest and get schoolwork done on the day after a game if the athletes don’t get back to the Bay Area until early morning.

Oregon will be the third straight Top-25 program Stanford will face, after losses to then-No. 10 USC on Sept. 10 and Washington last week.

Running back E.J. Smith will miss the rest of the season, due to an unspecified injury, Shaw announced Tuesday. Smith had 206 rushing yards in two games for Stanford.

Casey Filkins, who started in place of Smith, had 20 carries for 100 yards and added two catches for 29 yards against the Huskies. Shaw said Filkins will be the lead running back going forward.

–Field Level Media