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

Oct 8, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) runs the ball during the second half against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Oregon rushes for 306 yards in rout of Arizona

Bo Nix passed for 265 yards and ran for three touchdowns to lead a dominating offensive performance as No. 12 Oregon rolled past host Arizona 49-22 on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Nix directed Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) to touchdowns — all on the ground — on seven consecutive drives, capped by his 25-yard run for a 49-13 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter. He completed 20 of 25 passes, including 14 in a row at one point, and gained 70 yards on eight rushes.

Arizona (3-3, 1-2) rarely pressured Nix and never sacked him, also allowing the Ducks to rush for 306 yards. The Wildcats didn’t help themselves by committing three turnovers while playing in front of a crowd of 50,800 – the school’s first sellout since Sept. 26, 2015, against UCLA.

The Ducks shared the wealth on the ground, with five players rushing for touchdowns.

Noah Whittington, who ran for a game-high 92 yards on six carries, started Oregon’s scoring with a 55-yard burst in the first quarter, cutting to the middle near the line of scrimmage and outracing the defense to the end zone.

Jordan James ran 10 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. Bucky Irving had 12 carries for 67 yards and a score.

Oregon has won five consecutive games and scored at least 41 points in all of them.

Arizona’s Jayden de Laura completed 24 of 42 passes for 241 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

After Whittington’s 55-yard run late in the first quarter, Nix’s 42-yard pass to Kris Hutson set up a 2-yard quarterback sneak for a 14-3 lead on Oregon’s next possession.

Oregon finished the half with 346 total yards with the help of two more long scoring drives (86 and 75 yards). After James’ 1-yard run put Oregon up 28-10 with 34 seconds to go before halftime, Arizona responded with a 43-yard run by Jonah Coleman to set up a 36-yard field goal from Tyler Loop on the final play of the half.

–Field Level Media

Oregon's Keyon Ware-Hudson, left, and DJ Johnson celebrate a stop against Eastern Washington during the second quarter Saturday Sept 10, 2022.

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Bo Nix shines as Oregon hits 70 vs. Eastern Washington

Bo Nix completed 28 of 33 passes for 277 yards and five touchdowns as Oregon walloped Eastern Washington 70-14 Saturday night in a nonconference game in Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks scored touchdowns on their first nine possessions, plus a defensive TD, before punting with 4:20 remaining. They had a 604-187 edge in total yardage.

Oregon’s Mar’Keise Irving rushed for a game-high 74 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and Troy Franklin had 10 catches for 84 yards and a score. Terrance Ferguson added two TD receptions as the Ducks rebounded from a 49-3 loss to No. 3 Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff last weekend in Atlanta.

Nix threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ferguson and Noah Whittington added a 5-yard scoring run in the first quarter.

Nix hit Ferguson from 19 yards and Irving scored on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter to give Oregon a 28-0 lead.

The Eagles got on the board on a 7-yard pass from Gunner Talkington to Jett Carpenter with 6:03 left in the second.

Nix found Byron Cardwell Jr. on a 13-yard TD pass and added a 7-yard scoring strike to Franklin on the final play of the half to extend the lead to 42-7.

Oregon’s Cam McCormick, wearing jersey No. 18 to honor late teammate Spencer Webb, made a 2-yard touchdown reception from Nix on the Ducks’ opening drive of the second half.

Talkington threw an interception at his own 21-yard line that Trikweze Bridges returned to the 3-yard line before fumbling. Teammate Casey Rogers recovered it in the end zone to give Oregon a 56-7 lead.

Nix was replaced by Ty Thompson with 8:48 left in the third quarter. Thompson immediately guided a 78-yard scoring drive, capped by Cardwell’s 10-yard run.

Talkington, who was 12-of-21 passing for 87 yards with two TDs and two interceptions, hit Freddie Roberson with a 15-yard scoring strike late in the third to make it 63-14.

Oregon’s Kilohana Haasenritter scored on a 6-yard run early in the fourth as the Ducks reached the 70-point plateau.

–Field Level Media

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning leads practice Aug. 17, 2022, in Eugene Oregon.

Dan Lanning guides No. 11 Oregon vs. old friends at No. 3 Georgia

First-year Oregon coach Dan Lanning said he might wait until shortly before Saturday’s game to announce his starting quarterback for the No. 11 Ducks’ showdown against No. 3 Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta.

Perhaps it’s just a bit of gamesmanship between Lanning and his former boss, Georgia coach Kirby Smart. Lanning spent the previous four seasons on Smart’s staff — the past three as co-defensive coordinator — and helped the Bulldogs win the national title last season.

The Ducks are expected to start transfer Bo Nix, a three-year starter at Auburn, over redshirt freshman Ty Thompson at quarterback.

“That really doesn’t impact anything for us,” Smart said. “I know who the quarterback is going to be. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried a lot more about how our guys play and what our guys do and how our guys execute.”

Lanning acknowledged it’ll be a bit strange facing his former employer in his head coaching debut.

“There’s definitely some feelings of excitement for me to go play a team I care about and was a big part of for a long time,” Lanning said. “But that’s not the focus. My job, as well as the players’ job, is to focus on the task at hand.”

The Bulldogs lost a record 15 players from their championship team to the NFL draft — including five first-rounders from the defense that was led by co-coordinators Lanning and Glenn Schumann. They also had 13 players transfer.

Figuring that two heads are better than one, Smart has turned the defense — which allowed a modern-record 6.9 points per game in the regular season — over to Schumann and former South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, who already was on the staff as the special teams coordinator.

On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs again will be led by former walk-on Stetson Bennett, the offensive MVP of the 33-18 victory against Alabama in the national championship game last season.

“We’re on top of the world, but we’re going to see the world here in a few weeks,” Bennett told Sports Illustrated earlier this month. “Better be ready.”

The Ducks have had to cope with the offseason death of popular tight end Spencer Webb, who suffered a fall at a lake. Oregon players will wear a decal on their helmets with his No. 4 inside a spider’s web.

“Our team has a void. It’s something you cannot replace,” Lanning said. “I’ve talked to our players about that moment and Spencer, how on your tombstone there’s a day you were born and a day when you passed, but what made Spencer special was how he lived that dash in between those two numbers.”

Like the Bulldogs, Oregon has plenty of newcomers on its roster, as Lanning utilized the transfer portal to bring in Power 5 talent such as Nix and running back Mar’Keise Irving.

Lanning downplayed any advantage he might have of knowing Georgia’s defensive system — as well as the Smart vs. Lanning story line.

“Kirby Smart is not going to play a single snap on Saturday, and neither is Dan Lanning,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what I know. It’s what my players know and how well they can execute.”

–Field Level Media

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