Oregon football: One-dimensional Ducks find a way to win vs Utah

Quarterback Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks (Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images)
Quarterback Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks (Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images) /

The Oregon football team struggled but finally prevailed over No. 10 Utah, putting the Ducks in position for a possible New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

Oregon football fans had seen questions all week about whether or not quarterback Bo Nix would even play in the game against Utah. We got our answer about two hours before the start as he warmed up in pads on the field.

Nix was clearly not his usual self from the start. The ankle injury he suffered last week in the loss to Washington stopped him from running the ball for most of the game. Nix did damage with his arm on a cold night at Autzen Stadium and the Oregon defense stepped up to a big challenge after a letdown last weekend.

As it turns out, Bo’s arm was going to be exactly what was needed to win this game.

The Oregon ground game, following Irving’s opening drive touchdown, was held in check by the Utes defense. The Ducks had just 59 yards on the ground. Nix had -3 yards rushing on the night, but it was clear the goal was for the Oregon offensive line to simply keep their quarterback upright and give him a chance to pass or handoff the ball, which he did.

Nix was efficient despite limited mobility to the tune of one touchdown and one interception. The pick was thrown behind his receiver late in the game. Nix completed 68 percent of his passes.

On the other side, it was not an easy night for Utah quarterback Cameron Rising, throwing three interceptions and completing just 55 percent of his passes. Utah was able to get their ground game going to the tune of 156 yards. The key series of the game was to open the second half.

Utah started with the ball and had a drive that lasted less than two minutes in total resulting in a punt. The Oregon defense set the tone. Rising was hurried on key passes in the game that resulted in incompletions. There were several pass interference plays that were not called against Utah, but it did not affect the outcome of the three-point win by Oregon.

Despite being out of the College Football Playoff race, Oregon has plenty left to play for this season in the final week. A win over Oregon State on Saturday will put the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship game against the USC Trojans. A win(or loss) there depending on if the Trojans end up making the CFP, could see the Ducks in the Rose Bowl against a quality opponent to end the season.

The kickoff time for Oregon at Oregon State will be announced later today as either a 12:30 pm or 7 pm.

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