Nix throws 4 TD passes and runs for 2 more scores in No. 6 Oregon’s 63-19 rout of California

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) dodges California linebacker Blake Antzoulatos (32) during the...
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) dodges California linebacker Blake Antzoulatos (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)(Amanda Loman | AP)
Published: Nov. 4, 2023 at 6:39 PM PDT
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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Bo Nix threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and No. 6 Oregon pulled away from California in a wild first half in a 63-19 victory Saturday.

Nix completed 29 of 38 passes for 38 yards. He had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Tez Johnson caught 12 passes for 180 yards and two scores and the Ducks (8-1, 4-1 Pac-12, No. 6 CFP) remained undefeated at Autzen Stadium.

Jaydn Ott ran for 93 yards and a touchdown for the Golden Bears (3-6, 1-5). Nohl Williams scored on a fumble return and Mateen Bhaghani made two field goals.

Nix was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a pair of touchdowns and running for another during Oregon’s 35-6 victory at No. 13 Utah last weekend.

He went into the game against Cal averaging 292.1 yards passing. He has thrown 25 touchdown passes and run for five more.

Nix is getting Heisman Trophy buzz, although he’s facing competition from fellow Pac-12 quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who has helped keep No. 5 Washington undefeated. The Huskies downed the Ducks 36-33 in Seattle this season.

In periodic downpours, the game got off to a wild and slippery start.

Nix’s pass was intercepted on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Gary Bryant Jr. bobbled Nix’s pass and it fell into the hands of Cal safety Patrick McMorris on the Oregon 38.

Bhaghani attempted a 41-yeard field goal, but it was blocked by Khyree Jackson and run back to the Cal 10 by Jahlil Florence. The Ducks were ruled offside and hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty — putting Cal on the Oregon 9.

Fernando Mendoza’s subsequent first-down pass was intercepted by Steve Stephens IV. Penalties again thwarted Oregon, but Nix’s second-and-37 pass was caught by Tez Johnson for a 48-yard touchdown.

Oregon went up 14-0 when Mendoza’s fumble was scooped up by Taki Taimani, who took it to the goal line before Nix scored on a 1-yard keeper.

After Cal closed the gap on Bhaghani’s 43-yard field goal, Nix fumbled following a botched snap and Williams recovered, running seven yards for a touchdown to make it 14-10. Bhaghani added a 27-yard field goal to pull the Bears closer.

Nix had another 1-yard keeper before a pair of touchdown passes — a 14-yard scoring pass to Johnson and a 7-yard TD to Troy Franklin — to push the Ducks’ lead to 35-13 at halftime.

Ott scored on a 20-yard run early in the third quarter for Cal but the Ducks answered with Bucky Irving’s 6-yard scoring run to make it 42-19.

The Bears threatened with 4:05 left in the third on Oregon’s 5m but Jaivian Thomas fumbled and Oregon recovered.

Thomas, a freshman who ran for a touchdown earlier this season against Oregon State, was injured on the play and was motionless on the field for several minutes. Both teams surrounded him as he was carted off the field. His condition was not immediately known.

Nix found Terrance Ferguson with a 4-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter. Jordan James added a 16-yard scoring run. Backup Ty Thompson threw a 6-yard TD to Traeshon Holden in the final minutes.

Saturday’s meeting was the last between the two teams as members of the Pac-12 as it is known now. Oregon is off to the Big Ten next season, while the Golden Bears are joining the ACC.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: Ott, the Pac-12′s leading rusher with more than 107 yards per game, did not play in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ 50-49 loss to USC last weekend, but he started against the Ducks. Ott ran for 153 yards and three scores against the Trojans.

Oregon: Oregon leads the all-time series against Cal 43-41-2 and has won the last five. The Ducks have so dominated at home in recent years that Cal has won just once — back in 2007 — at Autzen Stadium in the past 35 years.

UP NEXT

California: Host Washington State next Saturday.

Oregon: Host USC next Saturday.

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AP college football: apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and apnews.com/hub/college-football