Nix leads No. 15 Oregon to Holiday Bowl win vs. North Carolina

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SAN DIEGO – The Holiday Bowl emerged from a two-year pandemic hiatus with a new home and the same reputation for thrilling finishes.

Bo Nix threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Cota on fourth down with 19 seconds left and Camden Lewis‘ PAT bounced off the left upright and went through to give No. 15 Oregon a wild 28-27 victory against North Carolina at Petco Park.

Cota caught the ball at about the 1 and got it across the goal line as he was being tackled by Don Chapman. The play was upheld on review. Lewis then banked in the PAT.

Nix called it “just one of our favorite plays” that the team practices a lot.

“It’s an option route and there’s a lot of different angles, so it’s hard to stop,” Nix said. “That’s what I want to call because we have the most reps at it and I know exactly where each guy is going to be, and Chase did a good job getting over across the field in man coverage and hooking the ball in and catching it and getting in the end zone. Extremely proud of Chase, he deserved that one.”

Cota said that when he saw the Tar Heels bringing a house blitz, “I knew. It was perfect and Bo saw it. Just an easy touchdown from there.”

Said coach Dan Lanning: “All we needed was time on the clock. It took every fourth down, it took every yard, it took every inch, it took every ounce of effort that our guys had to finish the way they needed to finish.”

North Carolina (9-5) got the ball to the Oregon 42 with one second left before Drake Maye‘s desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete.

“Very disappointed that we didn’t win, but we’ve got to make a play here or there, and they’re a great football team,” said North Carolina coach Mack Brown, who brought Texas to the Holiday Bowl five times between 2000 and 2011. “Nobody gave us a chance in the game and we had a chance with one second left. That’s all we could ask for in this situation.”

The Ducks finished 10-3 thanks to Nix, who came up big late in the fourth quarter after being held in check much of the second half. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Troy Franklin with 6:58 to go to pull the Ducks to 24-21.

The Tar Heels took a 27-21 lead with 2:34 to go on Noah Burnette’s 44-yard field goal, his second of the quarter.

Nix then moved the Ducks 79 yards in eight plays for the win, with the drive being aided by a pass interference call.

Nix was 23 of 30 for 205 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

Maye, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, was 18 of 35 for 206 yards and three scores.

The Tar Heels took a 21-14 lead on Maye’s 49-yard TD pass to Kobe Paysour just before halftime that was set up by an incredible interception by linebacker Power Echols. Echols’ jaw-dropping interception and 40-yard return gave the Tar Heels the ball at the Oregon 49.

With the score tied at 14 and Oregon driving late in the second quarter, Nix threw behind Terrance Ferguson and the ball bounced off the right calf of linebacker Cedric Gray toward Echols, who tipped it up with his right foot before bending over and grabbing it and taking off to the Oregon 49.

Maye then hit Paysour at about the 28 and he outraced the defense into the end zone, where he bowed to the crowd after giving the Tar Heels a 21-14 lead 26 seconds before halftime.

Maye also threw touchdown passes of 6 yards to Andrew Greene Jr. and 14 yards to Bryson Nesbit.

Oregon’s Bucky Irving had touchdown runs of 2 and 66 yards – the third-longest in Holiday Bowl history – in the first half.

THE TAKEAWAY

Oregon: The thrilling win was a nice finish for the Ducks, whose once-promising season fizzled out in November when they lost two of three after winning eight straight.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels ended with four straight losses, including a 29-point defeat against Clemson in the ACC title game.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Nix announced last week that he’ll return for his fifth season of eligibility. “There’s nothing like being an Oregon Duck. For 2023, I’m back,” he said in a video.

North Carolina: Maye recently batted down rumors that he had been offered a $5 million name, image and likeness deal to transfer. Maye had a breakout season that has made him a top prospect for the 2024 NFL draft.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

south carolina basketball
Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.