EUGENE, OR – The No. 6 ranked Oregon Ducks secured a chance to play for the Pac-12 Championship Friday after they defeated in-state rival and No. 16 ranked Oregon State 31-7.
Oregon controlled the game for all four quarters, rebounding from last year’s heartbreaking loss against Oregon State where they let the Beavers mount a fourth quarter comeback in Corvallis.
The Ducks ran the ball on 10 of 15 plays during their first possession, converted a 4th down attempt, and managed to eat up 8:41 of clock before Bo Nix connected with Bucky Irving on a 14-yard touchdown pass for the first score of the night.
Defensively, the Ducks wasted no time setting the tone for the game either, forcing a turnover on downs that set the Ducks up with good field position, allowing Bo Nix to move the ball down field and run for a 16-yard touchdown that extended their lead to 14.
Momentum started to shift late in the second quarter after the Ducks missed a 34-yard field goal from Camden Lewis, and Oregon State quarterback DJ Uiagalelei responded with a 15-play scoring drive of 80 yards. Uiagalelei found Silas Bolden for a 9-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 14-7 with only 54 seconds left in the half.
With Oregon State set to receive the ball at the start of the second half, Bo Nix and the Ducks offense worked quickly, and Nix eventually found a wide-open Troy Franklin for a 40-yard touchdown. Franklin would finish the night with 9 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. The Ducks quick touchdown brought the score to 21-7 at halftime, deflating the Beavers hopes of making the contest competitive.
In more ways than one, it was the end of an era for the Ducks Friday. Heisman favorite quarterback Bo Nix played his last game at Autzen Stadium, and the in-state rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State that in 1894, is not currently scheduled moving forward.
Nix posted another stellar game to his resume in his last home game, completing 33/40 for 367 yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. Nix reflected on his last game at Autzen Stadium saying “[It was] surreal. That place has been really good to me, it’s been really good to my family… I’ll forever hold a special place in my heart for it”.
In a rematch against the Washington Huskies, the Oregon Ducks will get a chance to right their only loss on the year next week in Las Vegas as they play for the final Pac-12 Championship and a chance to play in the 2023 College Football Playoff. The Ducks look like a different team from what they were the first time they played Washington, and after the game head coach Dan Lanning stated “I’ve said it since the beginning of the season that we want to be playing our best football at the end of the season, and we are right now. We’ve got a really good team”.