EUGENE, Ore. (AP)Bo Nix is fitting right in at Oregon with flashy plays and gaudy stats.
The transfer from Auburn is even getting some Heisman buzz with 31 touchdowns so far this season — 20 via pass and 11 more on the ground.
He had six touchdowns this past weekend in No. 8 Oregon’s 42-24 victory at California, the latest in a run of seven straight victories for the Ducks.
Nix threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 59 yards and three more. On Monday, he was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. He’s the only FBS quarterback who has had three games this season with three rushing touchdowns.
His 11 rushing touchdowns are the most for Oregon since Marcus Mariota had 14 in 2014. Mariota finished with 38 passing touchdowns that year and won the Heisman.
”I don’t think anyone can sit here and watch football right now and watch our quarterback play and not tell me he’s an elite quarterback. This guy’s playing at an extremely high level and he makes great decisions for our team. He’s an elite competitor, an elite leader, he has phenomenal character, he’s throwing the ball really well and making great decisions,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said.
It didn’t appear at first that this season would be a career year for Nix. The Ducks stumbled in their season opener to Georgia. But since then Oregon has been on a roll and is the only undefeated team in the Pac-12, averaging 48 points per game over their winning streak.
Nix insists he’s only as good as the players around him.
”I think it’s just scheme, and the players around me. I think we’ve done such a good job of just reading the play that’s called. When I’m out there when I’m doing it, if feels like I’m not doing a whole lot because I don’t have to: I’ve just got to get the ball to the playmakers around me,” he said after Oregon’s victory over UCLA two weeks ago.
Alabama’s Bryce Young is vying to win a second consecutive Heisman Trophy. Other quarterbacks in contention include Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and USC’s Caleb Williams. Michigan running back Blake Corum is also in the mix.
Stroud leads the nation with 29 passing touchdowns and a passing efficiency rating of 200.17. Williams has 24 passing touchdowns. Nix’s rushing touchdowns lead the QB Heisman candidates.
Nix’s play harkens back to Mariota. He’s dynamic and as flashy as Oregon’s many uniforms.
”I’m one of those guys, when I’m evaluating quarterbacks, I’m always looking for somebody that can do more than just what the play is designed for — and that’s who Bo has been,” said Colorado interim coach Mike Sanford.
The Ducks (7-1, 5-0 Pac-12) visit the Buffaloes (1-7, 1-4) on Saturday.
Nix, an Arkansas native and former five-star recruit, started the first 34 games of his career at Auburn. Last season, he threw for 2,294 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions before hurting his ankle.
He was held to 173 yards passing and no touchdowns in the Ducks’ season-opener against Georgia, which intercepted him twice in a 49-3 rout.
But since then he’s adjusted well to first-year coach Lanning’s system. Overall he’s passed for 2,221 yards with five interceptions. He’s completing 72.3% of his passes. And he’s been helped by a sturdy offensive line that has allowed just one sack this season.
Nix says the idea is to play aggressively while finding a balance and with protecting the ball.
”We’re just playing good team football right now,” he said. ”I think each and every one of us are very connected, very close to with one another, and that shows on the field.”
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