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March 3, 2024

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

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Oregon wide receiver Tez Johnson celebrates after scoring a touchdown against California during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon wide receiver Tez Johnson celebrates after scoring a touchdown against California during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman) Photo Gallery

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — That Oregon was able to rebound from a messy first half shows the sixth-ranked Ducks’ resilience, quarterback Bo Nix said.

Nix threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and No. 6 Oregon recovered from some early mistakes to pull away from California for a 63-19 victory Saturday.

“I thought we did great — 63 points is hard to do in a conference game,” said Nix, who threw a rare interception on the first play from scrimmage. “They stopped us a few times but I thought we responded really well to what is obviously the worst way to start a game. It happens sometimes. You just respond and go on to the next play.”

Nix completed 29 of 38 passes for 38 yards. He had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Tez Johnson caught 12 passes for a career-high 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.

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

Nix’s pass was intercepted on the game’s first play. Johnson bobbled Nix’s 15-yard pass and it fell into the hands of Cal safety Patrick McMorris on the Oregon 38.

“He (Johnson) made up for it,” Nix joked about the interception. “He can to do that all the time if he wants to go for 180.”

Bhaghani attempted a 41-yeard field goal, but it was blocked by Khyree Jackson and run back to the Cal 10 by Jahlil Florence. It was nullified when 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 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 — and the Ducks started to pull away for a 35-13 lead at halftime.

Oregon coach Dan Lanning said he was disappointed by the first-half mistakes. Overall, Oregon had nine penalties that cost them 99 yards.

“We made a lot of different mistakes today. 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,” Lanning said. “That happened too much today.”

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 5-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.

Cal coach Justin Wilcox said Thomas was being treated at a hospital.

“He’s alert, interacting with the doctors,” Wilcox said. “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,” he said.”

Nix found Terrance Ferguson with a 4-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter. Jordan James added a 16-yard scoring run before 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.

No. 6 Oregon 63, California 19

California 10 3 6 0 19
Oregon 14 21 7 21 63

First Quarter

ORE_Te.Johnson 48 pass from Nix (Lewis kick), 7:00.

ORE_Nix 1 run (Lewis kick), 4:40.

CAL_FG Bhaghani 43, 1:39.

CAL_N.Williams 9 fumble return (Bhaghani kick), 1:32.

Second Quarter

CAL_FG Bhaghani 27, 11:28.

ORE_Nix 1 run (Lewis kick), 5:21.

ORE_Te.Johnson 14 pass from Nix (Lewis kick), 1:39.

ORE_Franklin 7 pass from Nix (Lewis kick), :06.

Third Quarter

CAL_Ott 20 run (pass failed), 13:47.

ORE_Irving 6 run (Lewis kick), 8:30.

Fourth Quarter

ORE_Ferguson 4 pass from Nix (Lewis kick), 14:11.

ORE_J.James 16 run (Lewis kick), 9:51.

ORE_Holden 6 pass from Thompson (Lewis kick), 2:26.

CAL ORE
First downs 15 30
Total Net Yards 286 597
Rushes-yards 29-109 36-153
Passing 177 444
Punt Returns 0-0 3-75
Kickoff Returns 4-55 4-78
Interceptions Ret. 1-0 1-6
Comp-Att-Int 18-34-1 35-46-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-21 0-0
Punts 5-44.6 2-54.5
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-23 9-98
Time of Possession 23:26 36:34

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_California, Ott 20-93, J.Thomas 3-19, Williams-Thomas 3-9, Mendoza 3-(minus 12). Oregon, Irving 18-89, J.James 7-44, Limar 3-20, Dowdell 2-13, Nix 5-3, Te.Johnson 1-(minus 16).

PASSING_California, Mendoza 18-34-1-177. Oregon, Nix 29-38-1-386, Thompson 6-8-0-58.

RECEIVING_California, J.Hunter 5-64, Grizzell 4-50, Ott 4-15, Endries 2-10, Hightower 1-18, M.Young 1-13, Davis 1-7. Oregon, Te.Johnson 12-180, Franklin 6-79, Holden 5-48, Irving 4-28, Ferguson 3-35, Bryant 2-38, J.James 2-30, Limar 1-6.

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MISSED FIELD GOALS_Oregon, Lewis 53.

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