Top 5 Takeaways from Oregon Ducks’ Comeback Win Over Wazzu

Jordan Ingram Analysis

The No. 15 Oregon Ducks’ (3-1) stroke-inducing 44-41 comeback victory against an unranked (but mighty talented) Washington State at the Palouse was a key win for Oregon head coach Dan Lanning and the program he is building in Eugene. Here’s five takeaways from Saturday’s game:

— Ducks QB Bo Nix threw for a career-high 428 yards with three touchdowns and an interception (yes, a soul-crushing pick-six). Nix, for the second straight game, has improved from the previous game’s performance AND set a personal or school record in the process. Last week against BYU, Nix scored three rushing touchdowns and threw for two touchdowns — the first Oregon quarterback to accomplish such a feat since Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota in 2014. Verdict: Oregon has its QB1, no doubt.

— With 5:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Ducks trailed WSU, 34-22. According to ESPN, the Cougs’ win probability at that point was 95.1%. But that changed after Oregon scored 28 fourth-quarter points — 21 points in the final three minutes — capped off by linebacker Mase Funa’s go-ahead pick-six to ice the game for the Ducks. That’s a 105-point swing driven by a steady diet of WINNING. Check off another box for Lanning and the Quack Attack. These guys chew gravel and spit concrete.

— So, how about Mar’Keise “Bucky” Irving? First off, I dig the name change. Second of all, this guy is going to be a behemoth for Oregon in the weeks and years ahead. Irving rushed for 81 yards on 11 carries and caught five passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Lookout for Bucky.

— For nearly the entire game, Wazzu quarterback Cameron Ward couldn’t miss. Ward completed 37 of 48 passes for 375 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. While the Ducks’ defensive front applied pressure nearly the entire game, Ward was cagey and elusive, managing to dodge, duck, dip, dive, dink and dunk all over them, zig-zagging through heavy traffic like a squirrel on the freeway. Ward’s success was visibly frustrating for the Oregon defense and emotions bubbled over into a couple of late personal fouls that put the Ducks in a deeper hole. Hats off to Ward. Fine player.

Oregon linebacker Mase Funa celebrates after his interception and score to seal the win for the Ducks at Wazzou.

Oregon linebacker Mase Funa celebrates after his interception and score to seal the win for the Ducks at Wazzu.

— For some of you gamblers, this is a tough day at the book. The Ducks were -6.5 against the spread, WSU at +6.5. Here’s the Sept. 21 prediction from Sportsbook wire:

“Teams struggle in Pullman. No matter how good or bad the team, they always struggle when going to eastern Washington to play the Cougars. This will be another battle and -6.5 is too large of a gap to lay here. PLAY WASHINGTON STATE +6.5″

Man, ain’t that the truth. Glad I’m not a betting man because Guido is coming to collect. Lesson here? Don’t bet against WSU at home (or ever).

Now, pass the Pepto.

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top Photo from Harry Caston

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