A dark horse is emerging in the race for the College Football Playoff: the Oregon Ducks, now ranked No. 8 in the country. Oregon (6-1) seems to be hitting its stride as it enters the final month of the regular season, delivering perhaps its best performance to date in a 45-30 home win Saturday against No. 9 UCLA with ESPN’s “College GameDay” in town.
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Orchestrating Oregon’s offensive masterpiece was senior quarterback Bo Nix, who finished with 283 yards passing, five touchdowns and no turnovers while completing 22 of 28 pass attempts. He also scrambled eight times for 51 yards.
Fueled by three of Nix’s touchdowns and a successful onside kick, the Ducks used a 28-point second quarter to pull away from the Bruins.
BO NIX WHAT A THROW 🎯
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 22, 2022
Oregon hasn’t lost since Week 1, a 49-3 laugher at the hands of Georgia, which is now ranked No. 1. Since then, the Ducks have failed to score less than 41 points and are proving to everyone that they’re one of the best offenses in the country. They’re averaging 517.1 yards (fifth in the nation) and 42.4 points per game (seventh), both dramatic improvements from a year ago.
The jump in offensive production has coincided with the arrival of Nix, who played three years at Auburn before transferring to Eugene last December. If he keeps his current pace, he will set new career-highs in every major statistical category. Nix’s 71.5 completion percentage, 1,809 passing yards and 17 touchdowns — plus his 382 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground — have some mentioning his name in Heisman Trophy conversations.
A former five-star recruit and Alabama’s 2018 Mr. Football Award-winner, Nix’s three years at Auburn came with mixed results. He led the Tigers to a 9-4 record as a true freshman and was named 2019 SEC Rookie of the Year, but only managed to win six games each of the following two seasons and struggled with injuries.
After graduating with additional eligibility remaining, Nix then chose to transfer to Oregon after the season to be reunited with Kenny Dillingham. Dillingham was Auburn’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during Nix’s freshman season with the Tigers, and he was hired for the same position by first-year Oregon head coach Dan Lanning just days earlier.
“[Dillingham and I are] just connected offensively,” Nix said after Saturday’s game, according to ESPN. “He trusts me with what I see, and I think this is the closest we’ve been all season.”
In announcing his decision to enter the transfer portal, Nix made sure to thank the Auburn community and also to express his trust in God’s sovereign plan for his life.
“I don’t know what the next chapter of my life looks like,” Nix said in a video posted to Instagram, “but I do know that whatever it is, God has ordered my steps and He has a plan for me like He does for everyone else.”
View this post on Instagram
Nix has been vocal about his faith in Christ for years, referencing the Bible verse Colossians 3:23 and saying “Jesus saves” in his Instagram profile, while referencing the same verse and setting his profile photo to one of a cross on Twitter. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Nix, who regularly plays with a cross drawn onto his wristband, also gave glory to God after his first ever collegiate game, a comeback win against Oregon, of all teams. He was even a guest on the Sports Spectrum Podcast as a high schooler in 2018, when he explained the implications of his favorite verse.
“I think that’s really important, understanding and knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Nix said. “You know that He gave you all the talent that you have, and doing anything else besides that would disrespect Him in the long run.”
Bones break and things change, but God is always the same. One of my favorite verses is John 13:7, “Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I’m doing, but later you will understand”. The Lord’s timing is our schedule. The road to recovery begins tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Zl26hzPsLb
— Bo Nix (@BoNix10) November 15, 2021
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Nix and the rest of his Oregon teammates will be on the road next week as they travel to Cal (3-4) to continue their quest to stay perfect in conference play. The game is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
And as they have their sights set on a run at a Pac-12 title and maybe even a College Football Playoff appearance, Nix knows his impact as a team leader can extend far beyond the white lines and into eternity.
“Whether it’s leading [teammates] on the field or off the field, just setting that example, being that role model that they would look up to,” Nix said on the podcast. “Trying to do the right thing all the time when I’m around them and help them to know that it’s not weird or different to be different and do what’s right and be a Christ-follower.”
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