Bo Nix is never boring.
Nix had a whole lot of ups and downs during his time as the starting quarterback at Auburn. Now at Oregon, he experienced both during a thrilling 44-41 road win for the No. 15 Ducks over Washington State in Pullman.
Nix and the Ducks were miserable in the red zone in the first half. Not only did Oregon settle for three short field goals, Nix threw an interception that was returned 95 yards for a touchdown to allow Washington State to go into halftime with a 17-9 lead.
Washington State held onto that lead throughout the third quarter and went into the fourth with a 27-15 advantage. But then Nix and the Ducks got hot.
Oregon scored touchdowns on three of its four fourth-quarter possessions, flipping that 27-15 deficit into a 37-34 advantage. Two of those touchdowns came in a span of just over two minutes.
First, Nix led the Ducks 75 yards in 11 plays to cut Washington State’s lead to 34-29 with 3:50 to play. On the ensuing possession, Washington State went three-and-out and managed to drain only 59 seconds off the clock in the process.
After the WSU punt, Nix needed only a minute to put the Ducks ahead for the first time. After a few runs, Nix hit Troy Franklin in stride for a 50-yard touchdown. Nix then ran in the two-point conversion to give the Ducks a 37-34 advantage.
Washington State still had 1:29 to either tie the game with a field goal or even win the game with a touchdown. Instead, disaster struck when Cameron Ward was picked off by Mase Funa. Funa, the 255-pound outside linebacker, rumbled 29 yards for a touchdown.
That touchdown proved to be a big one as WSU would score in the final seconds, but it was too little too late for the Cougars.
In the win, Nix threw for 428 yards and three touchdowns to overcome that interception. In all, the Ducks put up 626 yards of offense and got the stops they needed defensively in the second half.
Nix was such a volatile player in the SEC, especially on the road. Some of those road struggles surfaced early, but Nix really has the chance to thrive in the Pac-12.
Oregon is now 3-1 on the year with three straight wins after the ugly season-opening loss to Georgia in Atlanta.
Washington State, meanwhile, dropped to 3-1 on the year but showed it will be a team to take seriously as the Pac-12 season progresses. Ward, a transfer from Incarnate Ward, has showed flashes of the brilliance he showed at the FCS level. But he has also been too prone to taking risks, including holding the ball for too long. He threw for 375 yards and two passing touchdowns and one rushing score, but he also threw his fourth and fifth interceptions of the season.
WSU already has a road upset of Wisconsin on the year, but couldn’t get it done at home against the Ducks. There will be more opportunities in the coming months, but Ward needs to limit the mistakes for WSU to meet its potential.