by Steve Mims
EUGENE, OREGON — Here is a recap of Oregon Athletics that happened last weekend.
Oregon’s national-title hopes came crashing down on Saturday night.
Washington, the most-hated rival for most UO fans, did the deed with a 37-34 win over the Ducks at Autzen Stadium.
Oregon had won eight straight games following a season-opening loss to top-ranked Georgia, moving up to No. 6 in the College Football Playoff in the process. However, the loss dropped the Ducks to No. 12 and the final three weeks of the season don’t leave enough time for Oregon to make a move into the four-team playoff.
The Ducks can still win the Pac-12 title as they sit tied with Utah at 6-1, one game back of 7-1 USC. The Ducks host 10th-ranked Utah Saturday night with the winner likely gaining a spot in the conference title game next month.
Washington, which moved up eight spots to No. 17 in the CFP rankings following the win over Oregon, is tied for fourth with UCLA at 5-2.
The two teams traded the lead while combining for 35 points in the third quarter before the Ducks took a 31-27 lead into the fourth quarter after a 67-yard pass from Nix to Troy Franklin.
Camden Lewis stretched the margin to 34-27 on a 26-yard field goal with 3:54 left to play, but UW quickly tied it up on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Michael Penix Jr. to Taj Davis.
After Oregon failed on a fourth-down conversion, UW’s Peyton Henry kicked a 43-yard field goal that held up as the winning margin.
Oregon opened the season with two blowout victories and a surprising loss.
The Ducks defeated Florida A&M 80-45 in the first game of the season before falling 69-56 at home against UC Irvine that knocked the Ducks out of the national rankings. Oregon bounced back with a 81-51 win over Montana State to set up a showdown against third-ranked Houston Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Center N’Faly Dante has led the Ducks with 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while transfer guard Keeshawn Barthelemy is averaging 10.7 points per game. Sophomore Nate Bittle averages 10.0 points and 5.7 rebounds while senior Will Richardson leads with 14 assists to go with nine points per game.
The Ducks are off to a 3-0 start and ranked No. 21 in the country.
Oregon opened the year with a 100-57 home win over Northwestern followed by a 90-47 victory against Seattle University. The Ducks went on the road to beat Southern University 83-46.
Freshman Grace VanSlooten leads the Ducks with 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while Endyia Rogers and Jennah Isai are both scoring 12.7 points per game. Point guard Te-Hina Paopao is averaging 11.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
The Ducks return home to face Southern Utah on Monday.
Oregon is heating up for the NCAA Tournament with nine straight victories following triumphs at Colorado and Utah last weekend.
The Ducks followed up with a 25-16, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18 win over Utah when Colyer had 25 kills. Brooke Nuneviller added 14 kills, 11 digs and five assists.
UO is 19-5 overall and sits second in the Pac-12 at 13-3 as its prepares to host UCLA and USC this weekend.
The Oregon women’s team placed second at the West Regional in University Place, Wash. while UO’s men were fourth.
Aaron Bienenfeld placed second in the men’s race to lead the Ducks.
The Ducks won three singles matches and two doubles victories during the Watanabe Classic in Las Vegas last weekend.
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 email@example.com.