EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Bo Nix threw for 287 yards and one touchdown despite being hobbled by a leg injury, Oregon intercepted Utah quarterback Cameron Rising three times, and the 12th-ranked Ducks knocked off the 10th-ranked Utes 20-17 on Saturday night.
A week after watching their hopes at the College Football Playoff evaporate, the Ducks rebounded with a gutty effort that preserved their chances of getting back to the Pac-12 championship game for the fourth straight season.
The Ducks (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12, No. 12 CFP) need only a win over rival Oregon State next Saturday to book their ticket to Las Vegas and a date with Southern California.
Nix was clearly limited after suffering an injury to his right ankle/foot late in last week’s loss to Washington that snapped Oregon’s 23-game home win streak. He threw a 4-yard TD pass to Troy Franklin in the first half and Bucky Irving added a 10-yard TD run as the Ducks built a 17-3 halftime lead.
Camden Lewis added field goals of 30 and 41 yards for the Ducks, the second of which came early in the fourth quarter and proved to be the winning points.
Nix finished 25 of 37 passing and his own interception late in the fourth quarter proved not to be costly for the Ducks. Nix’s first carry of the night came with less than 2 minutes remaining when he faked a pitch, dived for 2 yards and picked up the clinching first down for the Ducks.
Karene Reid returned a fumble 11 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter that sparked the Utes. Jaylen Dixon added an 18-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep later in the third quarter, but the Utes (8-3, 6-2, No. 10 CFP) couldn’t overcome an off night from their quarterback.
Rising was 21 of 38 passing, set a career-high with the three interceptions and flubbed an easy throw on fourth down in the fourth quarter deep in Oregon territory. Two of the picks came off deflected passes, but the costliest was Rising’s late throw across the middle that Oregon’s Bennett Williams nabbed near midfield with 4:15 remaining.
Utah got the ball back, but Rising couldn’t connect with Solomon Enis on a fourth-and-6 throw from midfield in the closing minutes.