EUGENE, OR – Despite wet conditions and early mistakes, the No. 6 Ducks dismantled the Golden Bears Saturday, defeating them 63-19 and making another strong claim for consideration in the 2023 College Football Playoff.
Following an impressive win last week against Utah, the Ducks showed signs that they were falling into a textbook trap game against Cal in the first quarter as they held onto a 1-point lead at 14-13.
Bo Nix’s first play of the game resulted in a Cal interception by Patrick McMorris after Nix’s pass went through the hands of wide receiver Tez Johnson. Later in the quarter, a miss-timed snap hit Johnson’s thigh while in motion, which resulted in a fumble recovery and touchdown by Nohl Williams.
Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning addressed the early struggles in his opening statement after the game stating “There are moments in that game that I certainly wish we could have back and execute a little bit better. I think we put ourselves in some tough positions at times, didn’t play to our standard of play, certainly in the first half”.
The Ducks went on to score three touchdowns in the second quarter, and Cal was never able to match Oregon’s electric offense. Tez Johnson finished the day with a career-best 12 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Bo Nix’s Heisman hopes are very much alive following another impressive performance where he finished the day 29/38 for 386 yards and 6 total touchdowns. “I thought we did great – 63 points is hard to do in a conference game” Nix stated after the game.
A weight of heaviness fell on Autzen Stadium in the second half as Cal running back Jaivian Thomas suffered what appeared to be a serious head injury when he fumbled on the Oregon 1-yard line. Thomas was met by both teams on the field and loud applause from the crowd as he showed signs of consciousness while being carted off the field.
With the large lead, backup quarterback and former 5-star recruit, Ty Thompson was able to play nearly the entire fourth quarter. Thompson finished the day 6/7 with 58 yards and 1 touchdown.
Oregon is poised for the National spotlight again next Saturday, where they will host reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and USC.