Ducks Win Second Straight, 41-20
EUGENE, Ore. — If week three was to be the most revealing result yet for the 2022 Oregon football team, then what was revealed was encouraging.
After two one-sided results to open the season, the Ducks welcomed a fellow top-25 team to Autzen Stadium on Saturday, in No. 12 Brigham Young. What ensued suggested incredible promise for the UO football team under new coach Dan Lanning, if the Ducks can maintain the momentum they have built the past two weeks.
The Ducks dominated the first three quarters Saturday, getting five total touchdowns from quarterback Bo Nix and a physical performance on defense to beat BYU, 41-20. After the previous week's blowout of Eastern Washington, Lanning said the Ducks still weren't completely sure that their identity had been revealed yet. It certainly seemed to be Saturday.
"This was the game where we felt like, OK, here we go — let's see if what we've been doing in practice really shows up," UO defensive back Bennett Williams said. "And I think it translated."
The Ducks were their most explosive yet on offense, while also unveiling a power package that employed an extra offensive lineman and a fullback. However they tried to get yards Saturday, they were generally successful.
Oregon's defense, meanwhile, made four stops on fourth down and only allowed seven points in the first three quarters.
"That was a fun one; from the start, it was fun," Williams said. "But I think it was really fun because we played really well. I've got to check the tape and see what we've got to work on. But as a team we did well, and the score showed that."
Williams and the defense set the tone, getting a stop on fourth down to open the game. Oregon's offense took the field and blitzed the BYU defense, getting gains of 26 yards on a reception by Kris Hutson and 36 yards on a rush by Bucky Irving, before Nix finished off the drive with his first of three rushing touchdowns on the afternoon.
The UO offense came into the game with five plays of 20 or more yards through two games. They had six in Saturday's game alone. And they complemented that big-play ability by also leaning on a new personnel group that included freshman offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr. on the field with the five starters on the line, and tight end Patrick Herbert lining up as a fullback.
"I think our identity is starting to show — that we're a physical, hard-nosed team, but at the same time we can get on the perimeter and we can make some plays at the skill positions as well," Nix said. "… Guys playing without the ball is something that we really talked about heavily this week, and you saw a lot of receivers and tight ends and even linemen finishing blocks and playing really well without the ball."
Oregon led 10-0 after Camden Lewis hit a field goal late in the first quarter. BYU scored early in the second, but the Ducks responded with the next four touchdowns of the game to take a 38-7 lead entering the fourth. The 28-0 run by Oregon included two more Nix rushing touchdowns, and two TD passes to Terrance Ferguson.
"I thought Bo made great decisions today," Lanning said. "Each week he gets more and more confident in what we're trying to accomplish."
About the only thing that didn't work out for Oregon was an attempt to get meaningful playing time for backup quarterback Ty Thompson, midway through the second half. The Ducks' momentum stalled, and BYU threatened to get back in the game. But the Ducks leaned on the running of Irving and Noah Whittington to regain control in the fourth quarter.
Following their season-opening loss to Georgia, the Ducks heard a lot of questions about what this season could hold. After the win over Eastern Washington they heard more questions, about how they'd handle BYU's physicality. Saturday, they provided some answers.
"I told the guys in the locker room, 'The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war,' and that's because of what you do between Monday through Friday in practice," Lanning said. "We've got to go to work on the practice field to be able to achieve in the game. What you saw on the field today was a result of the hard work that happens Sunday through Friday."
Pac-12 play now looms for Oregon, beginning next week at Washington State. The Ducks will have to continue blocking out outside noise, and continue putting in the work during the week that pays dividends come Saturday.
"We've got a lot of a lot of momentum right now, and we've just got to take every week one by one," defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus said. "Take it day by day. Every game in conference play is a playoff game."