Oregon clinched a spot in the Pac-12 championship game as the Ducks continued their playoff streak Friday night against Oregon State.
Heisman contender Bo Nix scored three touchdowns, the No. 6 Oregon beat No. 16 Oregon State 31-7 to finish the regular season 11-1 (8-1 Back-12). Pac-12 title. The Huskies handed the Ducks their only loss of the regular season in a 36-33 thriller on October 14.
Following Oregon State’s comeback just before halftime, the Ducks jumped out to a 14-point lead. The Beavers cut Oregon’s lead to 14-7 on a 15-play drive with a 9-yard TD pass from DJ Uyakeleli to Silas Bolton 54 seconds into the second quarter.
But the Ducks went 78 yards in five plays and 40 seconds before the Knicks found an open Troy Franklin for a 41-yard TD pass with eight seconds left. The lead was 21-7 at halftime.
From there, Oregon’s defense took over. Oregon State turned the ball over on downs to start the second half and Uiagalelei threw an interception on consecutive possessions. By the time Oregon State got the ball back for the fourth time midway through the fourth quarter, Oregon was up 24.
Nix continues his Heisman case
The Heisman race appears to have two players, at least according to the betting odds. Nicks (+115) is a close second to LSU QB Jayden Daniels (+100), and both players are significantly ahead of Washington’s Michael Benix Jr. (+700) and others.
Daniels will play his last game before the Heisman ceremony on Saturday against Texas A&M, and the Knicks have one more game to show why they deserve the Heisman Trophy.
Nix completed 30-of-37 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 31 yards and a score. He had a hand in all three of Oregon’s first-half TDs and has nine first-half TDs in the past two games.
For the season, Nix has thrown 37 TDs to two interceptions while rushing for six touchdowns. He has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last four games, and has completed at least 76% of his passes in all of them.
And the Knicks will not only play one more game than Daniels, but also get a chance to avenge Oregon’s only loss. Knicks threw for 337 yards and two TDs in the Ducks’ loss to Washington, but the game is best remembered for Oregon’s struggles on fourth down and a missed field goal as time expired.
A big game against Washington could solidify the Knicks’ claim to the Heisman — and put Oregon in the playoff. A win over Washington would put the Ducks at 12-1 and no worse than 5th in the playoff standings at the end of the season.
If Florida State finishes the season undefeated, the losers of Ohio State and Michigan won’t be out of the top four and Georgia beats Alabama. If that’s a lot. Oregon is 12-1 and has a strong chance to jump into the playoff field with a convincing win against the Huskies. The way the Knicks and Ducks are playing, they are definitely a playoff team.
Oregon State finishes the season at 8-4
The Beavers couldn’t get back-to-back wins against their in-state rivals before the Pac-12 disbanded over the summer, with Oregon and Washington going to the Big Ten along with Oregon and Washington UCLA and USC and other teams from the Big 12 and ACC. .
Oregon State (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) made a big comeback from a season ago with a win over Oregon and dashed the Ducks’ hopes for a 10-win regular season. This year, Oregon State’s offense never seemed to threaten the Oregon defense, so there was little doubt that Oregon was going to hold its lead in the second half.
The loss also comes as Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith has been mentioned as a Michigan State target in the Spartans’ coaching search. In the days leading up to the game, Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes issued a statement saying his priority was to get Smith a new contract and more guaranteed money for the Beaver football team’s success over the past two seasons.
Will Smith stay at Oregon State despite the demise of the Pac-12 and the school’s uncertain power conference future? We’ll find out in the coming days that Michigan State’s season is over following Friday night’s loss to Penn State.