Nix, No. 8 Oregon turn up gadget plays, beat Colorado 49-10
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Bo Nix and the Oregon offense tried out some new and creative wrinkles. Not that they really needed to as a heavy favorite, but it sure was exciting.
A halfback pass back to Nix for a score. A linebacker plunging in from short. An offensive tackle switching his number to become eligible and hauling in a short TD pass - on his birthday, no less.
The do-everything Nix led the charge with two passing touchdowns, two rushing scores and his TD grab as the eighth-ranked Ducks resorted to some trickery to beat Colorado 49-10 on Saturday.
"We're just dynamic," Nix nonchalantly said.
With the wind howling - 39 mph gusts - the Ducks (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12, No. 8 CFP) breezed to their eighth straight win since a 49-3 loss to No. 1 Georgia in the season opener.
The Ducks dialed up one gadget play after another, with offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. catching a 4-yard TD pass to open the scoring ("I didn't realize until after it's his birthday too," said Nix, who got him the perfect present). Linebacker Noah Sewell got the call, too, scoring on a 1-yard dive. Even Nix got into the trick-play act by catching an 18-yard touchdown pass from tailback Bucky Irving.
The Ducks are the first FBS team to have a receiving TD from an O-lineman, a receiving score from a QB and a rushing TD by a defensive player in the same game since at least 1996, according to research provided by Oregon.
"When you're a team that's complete and you're hard to predict, it's harder to really prepare for you," said Oregon coach Dan Lanning, whose team was a 33 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. "For us, they're not really trick plays when you execute them consistently in practice."
The Ducks have now scored 40 or more points in eight straight games for the first time since 2014.
"We don't care about stats. Stats are for losers," Lanning said. "I'm sure our players take pride in it. I don't want that to come across the wrong way. The goal is always to win."
Nix turned in another strong performance, completing 20 of 24 passes for 274 yards and two scores. He also had two rushing touchdowns to give him 13 on the ground.
With his TD reception, Nix joined the company of Marcus Mariota (2012 and `14) and Joey Harrington ('00) as Oregon quarterbacks who've been on the receiving end of scores since '96.
Irving finished with 120 yards rushing and, courtesy of his pass, posted an astounding pass efficiency rating of 581.2.
Oregon defensive back Christian Gonzalez tormented his former team with a pair of interceptions. Gonzalez earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention accolades last season for the Buffaloes before transferring.
"I had a lot of fun," Gonzalez said.
About the only thing that didn't go well for Oregon was Nix's backward, hook-shot-looking pass on fourth down near the end zone. Even that worked out, though, as two plays later Gonzalez intercepted a J.T. Shrout pass. It set up a short Nix run to make it 35-10.
There was a scary moment for the Buffaloes (1-8, 1-5) in the fourth quarter when talented freshman receiver Jordyn Tyson went down with what appears to be a lower leg injury. Tyson had five catches for 137 yards, including an 81-yard score.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Jordyn," Buffaloes interim coach Mike Sanford said.
Sanford's team falls to 1-3 since he took over after Karl Dorrell was let go.
"The thing that I'm most proud of with this team is not once have I seen - since I've had the chance to look them in eye eyes and on the sideline - ... one person quit on the field," Sanford said.
It was a gusty day at Folsom Field, with wrappers and leaves constantly blowing all over the field. On one occasion, the pom-poms from the cheerleaders blew onto the field and players tracked them down.
"I'm from Chicago," Irving cracked. "It was my type of game."
Oregon: Oregon is off to an 8-1 start for the third time in four seasons.
Colorado: The Buffaloes dropped to 4-34 overall against AP Top 25 teams since they joined the Pac-12 in 2011. "I know our team is way better than what we produced on Saturday," tailback Alex Fontenot said.
Oregon: Host Washington on Saturday.
Colorado: At Southern California on Friday.
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Updated November 5, 2022