Nix shines and No. 10 Oregon defeats No. 9 UCLA 45-30

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 22 UCLA at Oregon
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EUGENE, Ore. – Bo Nix made Oregon’s win over UCLA look nearly effortless. He said it felt that way, too.

Nix threw for 283 yards and five touchdowns and No. 10 Oregon handed No. 9 UCLA its first loss of the season with a 45-30 victory Saturday in a highly anticipated showdown for the top of the Pac-12 standings.

“To be honest, when I’m out there it feels like I’m not doing a whole lot because I don’t have to,” Nix said. “I just have to get the ball to the playmakers around me.”

The win extended Oregon’s winning streak at Autzen Stadium to 23 games, matching a school record. It is the third-best active home streak in the nation. The Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) have won six straight since a season-opening loss to Georgia and are the lone remaining undefeated team in Pac-12 conference play.

The loss snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Bruins, who have not won in Eugene since 2004. UCLA (6-1, 3-1) hasn’t defeated the Ducks since 2017.

Nix, a transfer from Auburn, is a mobile threat who has thrown for 17 touchdowns and rushed for eight this season. He completed 21 of 28 passes against the Bruins. His favorite target on Saturday was Troy Franklin, who had eight catches for 132 yards and two scores.

“He’s making great decisions with the ball, he’s not putting the ball in jeopardy,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said about Nix. “He’s playing really smart football, unselfish football. That’s going to lead to opportunities for us to win. If he continues to do that, I think we’ll continue to see success.”

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was completing nearly 75% of his passes going into the game, threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. Zach Charbonnet rushed for 151 yards and a score.

Oregon slowed UCLA’s ground game, allowing 186 rushing yards. The Bruins were ranked second in the Pac-12 with an average of 211.5 yards. In contrast, the Ducks piled up 262 rushing yards.

“I came back with expectations being very high for myself as well as this team,” Thompson-Robinson said. “When you don’t meet those expectations, obviously it hurts. I think it will fuel us stronger than ever.”

The Ducks went up 10-3 early in the second quarter on Nix’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Ferguson. UCLA answered with Thompson-Robinson’s 36-yard scoring pass to Keegan Jones.

Franklin caught a 51-yard scoring pass from Nix to put the Ducks back in front. Oregon recovered an onside kick and went on to extend its lead with Jordan James‘ 2-yard touchdown carry.

After Nicholas Barr-Mira kicked a 44 yard field goal for the Bruins, the Ducks’ final drive before halftime was pushed back by a pair of penalties but Franklin caught a 2-yard touchdown pass for a 31-13 lead at the break.

The Ducks padded their lead with Nix’s 17-yard scoring pass to tight end Cam McCormick. Charbonnet rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to open the final quarter but the Nix found Bucky Irving with a 37-yard touchdown catch. Irving finished with 19 carries for 108 yards.

Nix became the third Oregon quarterback since at least 1996 with multiple games of five or more touchdowns in a season. He joins Justin Herbert (2019) and Marcus Mariota (2014).

UCLA added a late touchdown on Thompson-Robinson’s 22-yard pass to Jake Bobo, who finished with eight catches for 101 yards.

“It was just a complete team win, as we’ve been doing,” Nix said. “I thought offensively we were just great on all cylinders, running, throwing. Everything was just kind of working for us today. When you can stay balanced like that, usually you put a lot of points up. ”

IN THE TOP 10

The last time a UCLA team ranked in the top 10 played a top-10 opponent was on Oct. 13, 2001, when the No. 7 Bruins beat No. 10 Washington 35-13 in Pasadena, California.

It was the first meeting between two top-10 teams at Autzen since No. 3 Oregon beat No. 7 Michigan State in 2014. The last matchup between two Pac-12 teams in the top 10 was No. 4 Oregon’s victory over No. 9 Stanford in 2010.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

UCLA, which rose in the polls to No. 13 last season, had not been ranked in the top 10 since 2015 before this past week. Oregon opened the season ranked No. 11, but the loss to Georgia dropped them out of the poll. The Ducks were ranked as high as No. 3 last season.

THE TAKEAWAY

UCLA: Coach Chip Kelly returned to Eugene, where he coached from 2009-2012. During his tenure, the Ducks were known for their speedy “blur” spread offense, which took them to the national championship game following an undefeated 2010 season. Kelly is 0-4 against Oregon since taking over at UCLA in late 2017. … The Bruins’ six wins to start the season were the program’s most since 2005. … UCLA was coming off a bye.

Oregon: The Ducks were also coming off a bye week. … ESPN’s “College GameDay” was broadcast from Eugene for the first time since 2018. … Former Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu was at the game. … Oregon is 4-0 in conference play for the first time since 2019. … The game attracted 59,962, fourth-largest crowd ever at Autzen and biggest since 2011.

UP NEXT

UCLA: The Bruins host Stanford next weekend.

Oregon: The Ducks visit California on Saturday.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”