Bo Nix is finally living up to his potential, only it is happening for the Oregon Ducks, who will try to run its winning streak to four games Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal.
Nix shook off a bad game in the season opener against Georgia and silenced some of his critics with three strong games.
Nix, who began his career at Auburn, where he mostly struggled for three years, has completed 78% of his passes for 927 yards and 10 touchdowns during the win streak. More importantly, the senior has just one interception and has run for 83 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon.
The scheduling Gods have not been kind to the Cardinal, who get USC, Washington and Oregon in successive weeks.
The first two ended in losses with the Cardinals giving up 40 or more points and the third may mean more of the same.
Tanner McKee is fifth in the Pac-12 Conference in passing yards per game (273.1), right behind Nix, but has thrown four interceptions in three games. McKee’s top option has been Michael Wilson, who is second in the conference in receiving yards per game (96) and first in average yards per catch (22.2). The senior also had four touchdown catches to his credit.
Prior to coming to Oregon, head coach Dan Lanning made his name coaching defense, including leading Georgia’s stellar unit last season, but he has some serious restoration work to do on the Oregon pass defense.
The Ducks gave up over 300 yards passing to both BYU and Washington State, but the defense did come through with a late pick-six by Mase Funa against the Cougars to help earn a 44-41 victory.
“We have to get a lot better on defense, we didn’t play well enough there to be successful and to win games we are going to have to win in this league,” Lanning told the media. “We learned a lot today and there’s a lot for us to work on. I’m anxious to get to the film.”
Getting out to a fast start on offense will be critical for the Cardinal, who trailed early against Washington 17-0 and USC 14-0 and were left chasing the game.
David Shaw’s team was dealt a huge blow when leading rusher E.J. Smith was ruled out for the season with an undisclosed injury, leaving Casey Filkins left to carry the load.
Filkins, a junior who came into the season with just 11 carries in his career, has done well, averaging 4.7 yards per rush but Smith was the big-play back for the Cardinal.
“Tough team to play without your starting running back and two starting tackles for a good chunk of the game,” Shaw told the media of Washington. “Casey performed admirably. Rushed for 100 yards, made some really nice cuts and did well in most of his pass protection opportunities. A young player that can grow and has a lot to learn.”
Stanford vs Oregon Injury Report
Starting offensive tackles Myles Hinton and Walter Rouse and fullback Jay Symonds are listed as questionable by Stanford. Running back Byron Cardwell, Jr. is close to a return for the Ducks while the status of receiver Caleb Chapman is less certain.
Stanford vs Oregon Head-to-Head
The Cardinal have won four of the last six meetings with the Ducks, including a 31-24 overtime victory last season at home in which McKee threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Stanford leads the all-time series 50-34-1, including 17-14 on the road.
Oregon, which is the only FBS team yet to allow a sack, has won 21 straight games at Autzen Stadium, two shy of matching the school record from 1997 to 2001. The Ducks have also won 15 straight conference games at home.
Stanford vs Oregon Game Information
- Game: Stanford vs Oregon
- Location: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 1st, 11:00 p.m. ET
- Stanford vs Oregon Live Stream: ESPN
Stanford vs Oregon Betting Lines
Stanford vs Oregon Prediction
The college football lines have the Ducks as a 17-point favorite, a big number considering their issues on defense. At the same time, it is hard to trust that the Cardinal can cover that number given that their starting tackles could miss the game.
Both teams will score in this game, but will they score enough to cover 63.5 points.