Bucky Irving in the Holiday Bowl - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR

Oregon Ducks Football: Biggest Winners of the Holiday Bowl

Alex Heining Editorials

Our Oregon Ducks football program made a huge statement for next season against the Tarheels.

On February 22, 1894, the Oregon Ducks football program played its first game, defeating Albany College. With beautiful games, the legacy continues to entertain people. It’s the end of the season, and we want to stay positive–and you don’t have to worry if you miss these exciting games. Interested in more football? You can also join the excitement from home. Bet on super bowl winner to have a blast.

Some players on the Oregon Ducks team did not perform to their full potential, but we will not focus on that today. Instead, we want to highlight players who made an impression on us and boosted their stock heading into the long off-season.

In what was a rollercoaster of a game (ending on a huge DOINK-ED extra point), the Ducks were able to ring in the new year to the tune of a Holiday Bowl victory, finishing Dan Lanning’s first season with double-digit wins. While it wasn’t pretty at times, with Bo Nix struggling and some lapses of focus on defense, the Ducks were able to pull out a last-minute win that sets the stage perfectly for next season.

Despite how close this game was, though, there were some Ducks that stood out as HUGE contributors to the victory. Here are some Our Beloved Ducks’ biggest x-factors in the Holiday Bowl that’ll carry major momentum into the 2023 season.

Bucky Irving - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com - Eugene, OR

Mike Snow

Irving’s burst looked outstanding against the Tarheels.

Bucky Irving

I’ll be honest. In the offseason I wasn’t a huge fan of this transfer. I saw a ton of talent on the roster and wanted to see their ability, not have valuable touches taken away from them. For Irving, I assumed he would be a complementary back at best and rarely see much usage.

Boy, am I glad I was wrong. On all fronts. Irving cemented the perception I have now that he’s more explosive and dynamic than Travis Dye, and has the highest ceiling for next season to become an Oregon great.

The Holiday Bowl was easily one of his best games of the year, and his explosive, shifty playstyle created huge openings for him to barrel his way to the endzone. Can’t wait to see how he develops next season.

Trikweze Bridges vs North Carolina - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck,com in Eugene, OR

Mike Snow

Bridges had some excellent pass breakups in the endzone and solid coverage against a great passing team.

Trikweze Bridges

With Christian Gonzalez out, Joel Klatt made it repetitively apparent that Bridges needed to step up his game. Well, he played like he has all year. Superb.

Bridges broke up a handful of endzone plays and almost came up with the game-changing interception towards the end of the fourth quarter. Even without the pick, it’s clear he’ll be starting all next season as a top-cornerback on this Oregon defense. Dontae Manning didn’t play particularly poorly either, he just had a couple plays against a savvy quarterback that did not go his way.

Overall: great day from the DB room, can’t wait to see Bridges again next season.

Chase Cota - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com - Eugene, OR

Mike Snow

What a stellar end to the season for Cota.

Chase Cota

What a way to cap off the year and a remarkable story with Cota. Glad to see his Oregon-great father Chad Cota was there to see a thrilling finish to his son’s career end with an outstanding touchdown grab. The wide receiver room flourished with Nix all year in efficiency, and a game-winning touchdown really cements how great Cota had become in situational play for third down plays and redzone trips.

Terrance Ferguson and that tight end room was excellent as well, but you couldn’t miss Cota’s pure joy on the sideline while the play was being reviewed for a knee down. Great plays from a great kid.

Dan Lanning - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR

Eugene Johnson

Gotta love what you saw from the Lanning-led Ducks this year, capped off with a bowl victory.

Dan Lanning

Not only is it nice to end the season on a high note, but all the momentum to make a big leap next year is there. Returning starting quarterback who threw a fantastic game winning touchdown pass to end the season, some elite offensive linemen getting opportunities with starters leaving, explosive playmakers, and a secondary that’s only gotten better. Add some top recruits and a few impact players from the transfer portal? This can be a championship team. 

Overall, the Holiday Bowl was a whole bowl of fun, and ended the Ducks’ season on a high note. While some players on the squad struggled, there were tons of positives to take away from the game too, especially the guys we mentioned.

Anyway, that’s what I gleamed from this game. What do you think, Duck fans? How’d you feel about the way Oregon’s season ended? Which breakout player are you most excited for next season? Let us know in the FishDuck Forum with decorum.

Go Ducks!

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Mike Snow

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