by Steve Mims
EUGENE, OREGON — Here is a recap of Oregon Athletics that happened last weekend.
Oregon landed at No. 8 in the first College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night.
It wasn’t unexpected considering the Ducks own the same spot in this week’s AP Top 25, but it does continue an unexpected rise in the polls following a 49-3 season-opening loss to Georgia.
There appears to be a path to the playoff if Oregon can win out as a few of the teams ahead of it in the rankings still have to play each other. And of course, the Ducks would need to go 12-1 including a win in the Pac-12 title game to have any chance of making the Final Four.
Oregon picked up its seventh straight win with a 42-24 win over California on Saturday. The Ducks are 7-1 overall and the last unbeaten team in the conference at 5-0 as they prepare to visit Colorado on Sunday.
Oregon is a 30-point favorite against the Buffaloes, who are 1-7, but tougher tests away with home games against Washington and Utah on the schedule after Colorado.
Nix found Noah Whittington for a 29-yard scoring pass before scoring on a 1-yard run as the Ducks pulled ahead 35-10.
Nix continued his Heisman Trophy campaign by going 27-for-35 for 412 yards and three touchdowns while running for 59 yards and three scores. Whittington ran for 66 yards and also had 67 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Oregon scored 40 or more points for the seventh straight game, marking the first time it has done that since 2014. The Ducks have won 26 straight games when scoring at least 40 points.
The Ducks swept a road trip to Arizona beginning with a 25-18, 19-25, 25-10, 26-24 win at Arizona on Friday.
Two days later, the 18th-ranked Ducks beat Arizona State 25-21, 26-24, 25-20 as Murphy totaled 17 digs and two aces. Nuneviller had 20 kills while Colyer added 13. Pukis had 42 assists and 12 digs.
Oregon improved to 15-5 and moved into second place in the conference at 9-3 as it prepares to host Washington and Washington State this weekend. The 19th-ranked Huskies are one game back of Oregon at 8-4 heading into Friday’s showdown.
Oregon was outscored 9-2 in back-to-back losses at Arizona State and Arizona.
The Sun Devils scored three goals in the first half before Lexi Romero scored for the Ducks. ASU added a goal to win 5-1 on Thursday.
Three days later, Arizona took a 2-0 lead before Kaitlyn Paculba scored late in the first half for Oregon. The Wildcats scored twice in the second half for a 4-1 victory.
Oregon is 4-8-6, including a 2-6-2 mark in Pac-12 play, as it prepares to close out the season Friday night at home against Oregon State, the only Pac-12 team with a worse conference record at 1-8-1.
Oregon’s women finished third in the Pac-12 championships in Riverside, Calif. on Friday while the men placed fourth.
Izzy Thornton-Bott led the Ducks with a fourth-place finish on the women’s side followed by Harper McClain and Emilie Girard in 11th and 14th, respectively. Aaron Bienenfeld was the runner-up in the men’s race followed by Abdinasir Hussein in 17th.
The two teams are off to the NCAA West Regional in Tacoma, Wash. on Nov. 11.
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.