Bo Nix's rebound helps No. 15 Ducks get back on track
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By ANNE M. PETERSON
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) The last two games have certainly shown that any initial concerns about Bo Nix's integration into Oregon's offense were a bit overwrought.
Nix has rebounded from a disappointing outing in the season opener against Georgia with a pair of stellar performances against Eastern Washington and BYU.
Sure, there was urgency to turn the Ducks' fortunes around, but Nix embraced it.
"One of my past coaches told me pressure is a privilege. And so I've really taken that to heart, and there's nothing more true in my opinion. When you have a lot of pressure it means that people believe in you, people believe you can do it, or there won't be pressure at all ...," Nix said. "So I'm just confident in my team. I'm confident in what they do. And really I just gotta go out there and do my job."
With the win over BYU last Saturday, Oregon moved up 10 spots to No. 15 in the AP Top 25. This weekend the Ducks (2-1) head to Pullman for their conference opener against Washington State (3-0).
A transfer from Auburn, Nix was held to 173 yards passing and no touchdowns against Georgia, which intercepted him twice in a 49-3 rout that swept the Ducks out of the rankings.
Nix answered the next week against lower-tier Eastern Washington, throwing for 277 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in a 70-14 victory.
He built on that success by throwing for 222 yards and two touchdowns - and running for 35 yards and three more scores - in a 41-20 victory over then-No. 12 BYU. He was the first Oregon QB to throw for two and run for three since Marcus Mariota in the Pac-12 championship game in 2014.
At one point in the fourth quarter against BYU, Nix ran on third-and-13. While he was a yard short, the Ducks successfully went for it on fourth down to extend the drive.
"I like guys that are winners, that want to go get first downs like Bo wants to get a first down," Oregon coach Dan Lanning said. "You obviously want to be smart but you're a competitor, you want to go get a first, go get a first. Certainly at some point I could be sitting up here and I could regret that I said that but you don't tell guys how to compete and Bo wanted to compete and go get a first down. I'm excited to see it."
In the games against Eastern Washington and BYU, Nix has had just 10 incompletions. And he's developed a chemistry with tight end Terrance Ferguson, who has caught four of his TD passes.
"Terrance is a really talented tight end and I think our other tight ends in that room are really talented as well. He's been on the right end of the right call and the right coverage to allow him to go make a play. But obviously there's a level of trust there for Bo and the rest of those guys that he's throwing to," Lanning said.
Nix, an Arkansas native and former five-star recruit, started the first 34 games of his career at Auburn before a season-ending ankle injury. Last season, he threw for 2,294 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Known for his mobility, he also ran for four touchdowns. But the Tigers, under first-year head coach Bryan Harsin, struggled and finished 6-7 for their first season below .500 since 2012.
Nix decided he needed a change of scenery and headed to Eugene. He's clearly settled in after that bumpy start.
"We're just having a lot of fun right now. There's no doubt about it. We're enjoying, like our teammates we're enjoying being around," Nix said. "I think you can tell that after each touchdown. We spend a lot of time on the field celebrating - we're always having to get in trouble getting off."
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Updated September 21, 2022