The Oregon Ducks overcame a sloppy first half on Saturday and scored 63 points to show their resilience and firepower against the California Golden Bears. Amidst periodic downpours, the game got off to a rocky start. Oregon QB Bo Nix threw just his second interception of the season on the Ducks’ first play from scrimmage. The Ducks would force turnovers from Cal on both of their first two possessions and take an early 14-0 lead. The Bears fought back with a 43-yard field goal by Mateen Bhaghani, followed by a scoop-and-score touchdown off a Nix fumble.
Photo Cred: SI
Another Bhaghani field goal would make the game 14-13, and it seemed like Cal was in position to take the game back. The Ducks wouldn’t waver though; a touchdown run by Nix followed by two TD passes would give Oregon a commanding 35-13 lead going into halftime. The Bears looked poised for a comeback run, following a 20-yard touchdown early in the third by Jayden Ott. A score by Bucky Irving and a fumble by Cal’s Jaivian Thomas on Oregon’s 5-yard line would be crushing blows. Even more concerning for Cal was the injury sustained by Thomas on that play, who laid motionless for quite some time before being carted off the field. He was surrounded by concerned players from both squads.
Cal head coach Justin Wilcox reported that he has been undergoing treatment at a hospital: “He’s alert, interacting with the doctors. He does have movement and feeling in his extremities, which is good news, but there are still a lot of tests he’s going to undergo.” The Ducks would tack on three more touchdowns to seal a 19-63 victory.
Photo Cred: SI
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning was disappointed in his team’s messy play, which included nine penalties for 99 yards. “We made a lot of different mistakes today,” said Lanning. We have to eliminate that, and we have to get to the next play and make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. That happened too much today.”
Tez Johnson led the way offensively for the Ducks with 180 yards receiving. Bucky Irving went for 89 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, while Bo Nix threw for 386 yards and four TDs. The California Golden Bears will host Washington State next Saturday in Berkeley. The Oregon Ducks will host USC at home in Autzen Stadium. If Oregon wins out, they can make a claim to the College Football Playoff, with Alabama most likely playing Georgia in the SEC Champions. The Ohio State-Michigan loser could lose a spot as well.