by Steve Mims
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix is now considered the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy after leading Oregon to a 36-27 win over USC and reigning Heisman holder Caleb Williams.
The senior quarterback went 23-for-31 for 412 yards and four touchdowns as the sixth-ranked Ducks improved to 9-1, including a 7-1 record in conference play. Oregon visits Arizona State on Saturday as it looks to keep its national-title dreams alive.
Bucky Irving ran for 118 yards and a touchdown while Tez Johnson had seven catches for 126 yards and two scores. Troy Franklin had two catches for 147 yards and a touchdown while Terrance Ferguson had six catches for 60 yards and a score.
Nix completed his first pass for 77 yards and a score to Johnson and then added a 84-yard touchdown pass to Franklin. Ferguson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass and Camden Lewis booted a field goal to put Oregon ahead 22-7.
Johnson opened the second half with a 21-yard touchdown catch from Nix and Irving added a 19-yard touchdown run as UO went up 36-14.
Oregon lost 3-2 at No. 4 Stanford on Thursday before following up with a 3-2 win over California on Saturday.
Morgan Lewis had 19 kills when Stanford defeated the Ducks 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 15-12. Two days later, the Ducks bounced back with a 23-25, 25-12, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13 win over California.
The Ducks are 22-5, including a 12-4 mark that ties them for second in the conference, as they prepare to Arizona State and Arizona this week.
The Oregon women secured a spot in the NCAA Championships by placing second at the West Region meet.
Maddy Elmore led the Ducks by placing fifth in 19:22.8 while Izzy Thornton-Bolt and Anika Thompson finished 10th and 12th, respectively. The Oregon men finished seventh led by Elliott Cook in 10th place at 29:22.7.
Oregon opened the season with wins over Georgia and Montana.
Nate Bittle had 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots as Oregon defeated Montana 75-61 in its home opener. Rigsby added 12 points while freshman Kwame Evans Jr. had a team-high 10 rebounds.
Oregon stays home to face Tennessee State on Friday.
The Oregon women are also off to a 2-0 start after a pair of home wins.
Two days later, Gray had 20 points and five assists to lead the Ducks to a 86-60 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff. VanSlooten added 19 points and 11 rebounds while Phillipina Kyei had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Oregon travels to play at Grand Canyon on Thursday.
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.