Oregon Defeats Oregon State 31-7 for a spot in the Pac-12 Title Game
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Ducks are relishing a second chance against Washington.
Sixth-ranked Oregon secured a spot in the Pac-12 championship game with a 31-7 victory Friday night over No. 15 Oregon State in the final scheduled matchup between the in-state rivals.
The Ducks (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12, No. 6 CFP) will face No. 4 Washington next Friday in Las Vegas, the last conference championship before 10 of the league's teams bolt next season. The winner has a chance at earning a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff.
It was Oregon's sixth straight win since a 36-33 loss at Washington on Oct. 14. The rematch next week will mark the first meeting between the teams in the Pac-12 title game.
“Obviously that's exactly how we wanted it,” Oregon quarterback Bo Nix said about heading to the title game, “because of the circumstances, because we lost the first one."
Nix, among the Heisman Trophy favorites, completed 33 of 40 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for another score. Troy Franklin caught nine passes for 128 yards and a score. Tez Johnson caught 11 passes for 137 yards.
Johnson was asked how much he wanted to face the Huskies again.
“Really bad, ever since we lost that game,” he said. “We lost that game, I couldn't talk to anybody. It's personal.”
DJ Uiagalelei threw for 220 yards and a touchdown for Oregon State (8-4, 5-4, No. 16 CFP), which is one of two teams not leaving the Pac-12, along with Washington State. Oregon is heading to the Big Ten next season.
While Washington and Washington State have agreed to continue the Apple Cup as a nonconference rivalry game, no such deal has been struck between the Ducks and the Beavers.
The Huskies (11-0, 6-0, No. 4 CFP) sealed their spot in the conference championship last weekend with a 22-20 victory over the Beavers. Washington hosts Washington State on Saturday.
“Hats off to our team man, we battled all the way through, It's tough," Uiagalelei said. “At the end of the day man we love this game of football, this is the stuff that's tough, losses like this.”
Bucky Irving caught a short pass from Nix and ran for a 14-yard touchdown on the Ducks' first drive, which took 8:41 off the clock.
Nix scored on a 16-yard keeper early in the second quarter. The Ducks converted on fourth down on both scoring drives.
Uiagalelei's 9-yard touchdown pass to Silas Bolden narrowed the score to 14-7 with 54 seconds left in the first half, but Nix led an efficient Oregon series that ended with his 41-yard scoring pass to Troy Franklin to make it 21-7 at the break.
It was Franklin's 14th touchdown this season. It was also the 25th of his career at Oregon, a school record.
After Camden Lewis made a 35-yard field goal for the Ducks in the third quarter, Jordan James pushed the lead to 31-7 with a 1-yard TD in the fourth.
The Ducks will have the same approach in the coming week, even though the upcoming game has a bit more weight, coach Dan Lanning said.
“That’s really what it’s been about, it’s been about each day, it’s been about each moment. It’s doing to be the same tomorrow,” Lanning said. “It’s not going to be about Washington, either, it’s got to be about the Ducks and what we’re going to do tomorrow to be better.”
Oregon State: While the Beavers still have a bowl to look forward to, there has been rampant speculation this week that the rivalry game was coach Jonathan Smith's last for his alma mater. Smith has been linked to the vacancy at Michigan State. On Wednesday, Beavers athletic director Scott Barnes issues a statement that said his top priority is keeping Smith in Corvallis. Smith said after the game that no decision had been made about his future. … Oregon State was held to just 53 yards rushing.
Oregon: It was Oregon’s ninth straight win over Oregon State at Autzen Stadium. … Oregon has won 11 games for the first time since 2019, and the eighth time in program history. … Arizona was eliminated from a shot at the conference championship, no matter what happens when the Wildcats play Arizona State on Saturday. Arizona needed an Oregon State win to stay alive.
END OF AN ERA
Fans on both sides were sad about the end of rivalry between the state's two biggest universities, which are only about 40 miles apart in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Friday's game was the 127th time Beavers and Ducks have met.
"It's very deeply rooted and everyone has respect for one another. Its like camaraderie. It brings the state together. Its really sad that we won’t be able to continue that in the years ahead,” said Donna Moore, who graduated from Oregon in 1990.
Nix has 37 touchdown passes with two interceptions this season and he’s run for six more scores. Lanning says he's been “dialed in.”
“Bo is special and it’s been fun coaching him,” Lanning said. “And we’re not done yet.”
Oregon State: The Beavers await their bowl bid. The Pac-12 has agreements with six bowl games. Normally the Rose Bowl is the destination for the winner of the conference, but this year it's a playoff site.
Oregon: The Ducks play Washington in the Pac-12 championship next Friday.