by Steve Mims
EUGENE, OREGON — Here is a recap of Oregon Athletics that happened last weekend.
Oregon is back in the national-title discussion and Bo Nix has entered the Heisman Trophy race.
The Ducks put on a show for the nation to see during a 45-30 win over ninth-ranked UCLA Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
The day started with ESPN GameDay broadcasting on campus before a national FOX audience saw the impressive win over the Bruins that moved the Ducks up two spots to No 8 in the AP poll.
“I had a pretty good feeling this was going to be an awesome day the minute I stepped out on the quad right around 6 a.m. this morning and that place was packed,” UO coach Dan Lanning said. “Our fans brought it from 4 a.m. all the way to the very end of that game and they were absolutely a difference for us. It was a complete team win.”
Oregon will find out where it stands in the first College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday, but a win at California on Saturday should secure a Top-10 spot for the Ducks. That seemed unimaginable after Oregon opened the season with a 49-3 loss at Georgia, but six straight wins have the Ducks back in the championship conversation.
The Ducks are the last unbeaten team in the Pac-12 standings at 4-0 heading into back-to-back road games at California and Colorado. Then the Ducks return home to face Washington and Utah before finishing up at Oregon State.
Nix, a senior transfer from Auburn, completed 22-of-28 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns in the win over UCLA while rushing eight times for 51 yards. He is the second Pac-12 quarterback to ever throw five touchdown passes and no interceptions against a Top-10 team and joins Marcus Mariota and Justin Herbert as the only UO quarterbacks to throw at least five touchdown passes in multiple games during a season.
He was named national offensive player of the week by five outlets, including the Maxwell Award.
Nix has completed 71.5 percent of his passes during his first season with the Ducks while throwing for 1,807 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also run for 382 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I don’t think anyone can sit here and watch football right now and watch our quarterback play and not tell me he’s an elite quarterback,” Lanning said. “This guy’s playing at an extremely high level and he makes great decisions for our team. He’s an elite competitor, an elite leader, he has phenomenal character, he’s throwing the ball really well and making great decisions.”
After Oregon recovered an onside kick, Jordan James scored on a two-yard run for the Ducks. Nix and Franklin hooked up for another touchdown pass just before halftime to put Oregon up 31-13.
Franklin had eight catches for 132 yards and two scores while Irving had three catches for 57 yards and a score. Irving also ran 19 times for 107 yards while Noah Whittington added 73 yards on 12 carries.
Oregon swept a weekend series against Utah and Colorado to stretch its winning streak to three straight matches. The Ducks improved to 13-5 and sit tied for third in the Pac-12 Conference at 7-3.
Two days later, the 20th-ranked Ducks improved to 7-0 at home with a 25-23, 25-17, 25-22 win over Colorado. Colyer and Nuneviller led the way with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
Sixth-year head coach Matt Ulmer picked up his 100th career win, improving to 100-62 as coach of the Ducks.
Seventh-ranked Stanford defeated Oregon 1-0 on Thursday before the Ducks bounced back to tie California 1-1 on Sunday at Pape Field. Oregon is 4-4-6 on the season, including a 2-4-2 mark in Pac-12 play.
Stanford scored in the sixth minute before UO goalkeeper Leah Freeman had eight saves.
Kess Elmore scored in the fourth minute against California before the Bears added a goal in the second half.
The Ducks visit Arizona State on Thursday followed by a trip to Arizona on Sunday.
Oregon reached the semifinals of the East Lake Cup before losing 3-2 against Auburn on Tuesday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Steve Mims has spent 25 years as a sportswriter, including 21 years at The Register-Guard. He covered University of Oregon athletics from 2013-2020. He works in Eugene as a registered representative and insurance agent at PBC Insurance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.