Three takeaways from No. 8 Oregon's blowout win over Cal
The last time a Pac-12 team averaged 43 points was Oregon in 2015.
If the Ducks continue to roll behind Bo Nix, they might not be so far off the pace. Nix had yet another tremendous offensive effort in both aspects of the game, doing damage with his arm and his legs in a 42-24 win over Cal on Saturday, Oregon’s seventh straight win.
Nix was not perfect through the air, throwing multiple interceptions for the first time since Week 1 against Georgia. But he was good enough, completing 27-of-35 passes for 412 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Per usual, it seems, Nix did most of his damage on the ground. Nix was terrific in the running game, rushing for 59 yards on 12 carries with three rushing touchdowns — his third game this season with three rushing scores.
Oregon’s offense just continues to roll as they steam toward a Pac-12 title game bid.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Ducks continue second-quarter success
After another rather pedestrian start, Oregon really took flight in the second quarter — as it has for the last month.
Oregon’s first three plays went a total of 5 yards, causing a first-drive punt. The Ducks then went 49 yards on eight plays but stalled out at the Cal 14-yard line, where a Nix pass attempt fell incomplete on fourth down. After Cal hit a field gal to go up 3-0, Oregon managed 10 yards on its third drive.
It appeared we’d have a game here, and then the clock struck zeroes and the second quarter began. It took all of one play for the Ducks to reach the endzone on a Nix 4-yard touchdown run, and they didn’t stop there. Oregon scored twice more in the quarter, then scored to open the third quarter, as well.
We’re starting to see a pattern: the Ducks’ scored three second-quarter touchdowns for the fourth straight game. No idea if that’s a record but it feels like it.
Oregon survives a scare
For a moment there, it looked like all was not well with Oregon going into halftime.
On the penultimate play of the second quarter with first half just about over, Troy Franklin appeared to suffer a significant hamstring injury when he tried to kneel to give the Ducks one more offensive play after a 17-yard gain. Franklin remained on the field for an extended period, requiring the assistance of multiple Oregon training staff members just to get off the field.
It was not a good look.
But the lucky Ducks got him back to start the second half, breathing a huge sigh of relief, as the loss of their top receiver would be devastating for a team with CFP aspirations. Franklin has been one of Oregon’s most consistent targets, leading the team with 621 receiving yards on 38 receptions with five touchdowns.
Cal finds its QB of the future
It would be premature to say that Cal has a quarterback controversy because redshirt freshman Kai Millner only entered the game after Plummer took a big hit late. But Millner looked absolutely terrific in his two drives at the helm.
His first went 75 yards on 13 plays, capped off by a Millner-to-Monroe Young 11-yard touchdown pass.
His second was far quicker. After completing two passes for 20 yards to set Cal up at its 45-yard line, Millner found Justin Richard Baker for a 55-yard touchdown.
For the game, he went 8-of-11 passing for 114 yards, adding a 13-yard run. Millner, a 4-star recruit for the Bears, could become Justin Wilcox’s lifeline if the Bears struggle down the stretch. Start Millner and show some progress and Wilcox might save his job if Cal tanks.
First-career TD pass for @kai_millner 👏
First-career TD catch for @monroeyoung11 👏
📺 FS1 | @CFBONFOX
📱 https://t.co/02tCqpzfnQ#GoBears pic.twitter.com/aT53Qov94H
— Cal Football (@CalFootball) October 29, 2022