Oregon football: Ducks hard-fought comeback in Holiday Bowl secures 10th win

Bucky Irving #0 of the Oregon Ducks( Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Bucky Irving #0 of the Oregon Ducks( Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Oregon football picked up their tenth win of the season following a 28-27 win over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Bucky Irving and Mase Funa led the way for the win.

Running Back Bucky Irving finished the game with two scores to go with 151 yards on the ground for the Ducks. With the win, Irving capped off his first year with Oregon as a one-thousand-yard rusher ending with 1055 yards on the season to go with five touchdowns as the Ducks’ lead running back in 2022. Noah Whittington finished the season with 781 yards on the ground.

UNC Quarterback Drake Maye showed off an impressive arm throughout the game and the Oregon defense tried to set the tone early. On the first Tar Heels drive, Mase Funa sacked Maye for a 14-yard loss, but it did not shake the Tar Heels QB. Maye had UNC up 21-14 at halftime.

The UNC defense was up to the challenge for most of the game and challenged Oregon. The third quarter was scoreless. DeAndre Boykins led the way for the Tar Heels with 7 tackles, 6 of them solo to go with a tackle for loss.

Both teams struggled to open the second half, with the first score not coming until early in the fourth quarter when North Carolina kicked a field goal to widen the lead to 24-14. Down 10 points with a little under 10 minutes to go in the game, Oregon turned to Bo Nix.

Oregon football leaned on Bo Nix in the second half of the Holiday Bowl

It was a tale of two halves for Ducks starting quarterback Bo Nix, who was largely held in check during the first half but came to life after halftime, particularly in the 4th quarter, leading the Ducks to two important touchdown drives, including the game-winner.

Nix finished the night 23 of 30 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Nix and the Ducks were 1 for 4 on fourth down, with the lone successful attempt being the game-winning touchdown to tie the game at 27.

For most of the game, the turf at Petco showed wear and tear despite the grounds crew doing their best to keep it together. The extra point kick by Camden Lewis almost was missed doinking off the goalpost, but through giving Oregon a one-point lead and ultimately the victory over UNC.

Oregon enters the offseason at 10-3 and a ten-win season for first-year head coach Dan Lanning. They have some momentum with Quarterback Bo Nix already committed to returning in 2023 and will have to fill some pieces, as every program typically does. I expect there will be a few more transfer portal comings and goings over the coming months.

Mase Funa is one player Oregon will not have to worry about. He announced after the Holiday Bowl that he will also be returning to the team in 2023.

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