Oregon Ducks scouting report
Head coach: Dan Lanning, 1st season (7-1)
This season: 7-1, 5-0 Pac-12
Rankings: No. 8 (CFP, Associated Press and Coaches)
Last week: Won at California, 42-24
5 Players to Watch
• WR Troy Franklin: The Ducks’ leading receiver, he has caught 38 passes for 595 yards and five touchdowns. He’s averaging 15.7 yards per catch.
• CB Christian Gonzalez: A former CU Buff, Gonzalez has been stellar in his first season with the Ducks. He has 32 tackles, one interception and a team-high seven pass breakups.
• RB Bucky Irving: Minnesota transfer played for CU interim head coach Mike Sanford last year. This year, he’s leading Oregon with 568 yards (6.4 per carry) and has scored two touchdowns. Also has 16 catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns.
• QB Bo Nix: A Heisman Trophy candidate, he has completed 72.3% of his passes for 2,221 yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also leads the Pac-12 with 11 rushing touchdowns, gaining 441 yards on the ground.
• LB Noah Sewell: One of the best linebackers in the country, he’s recorded 36 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery this season. He had a team-high 114 tackles as a freshman last year.
Auburn transfer Bo Nix has had a career resurgence in his first year with the Ducks. Reunited with coordinator Kenny Dillingham (who helped Nix have a great freshman year in 2019), Nix has helped the Ducks rank among the nation’s best offenses. They are fifth in scoring (42.4 per game) and third in total yards (525.8 per game). They are balanced, too, ranking ninth in rushing (235.8) and 11th in pass efficiency (163.2 rating). Nix has several weapons and one of the best offensive lines in the country, as he’s only been sacked once (for a 1-yard loss).
This season, the Ducks’ offense has been so good that the defense hasn’t had to be. Oregon is loaded with talent on defense, but they’ve given up a lot of points (28.4 per game, 81st nationally) and yards (386.0, 76th). The run defense has been very good, ranking 15th and allowing only 105.8 yards. But, against the pass, the Ducks rank 119th in yards allowed (280.2 per game) and pass efficiency (141.3 rating). They’ve also struggled to get off the field in third downs.
Oregon special teams
Camden Lewis is one of the top kickers in the Pac-12 and he’s 8-for-8 on field goals this season, with a long of 44. He’s also made all 43 extra points. Now in his fourth season as the primary kicker, Lewis is 31-of-42 on field goals in his career. Punter Adam Barry, a transfer from Temple, put up better numbers with the Owls, but he hasn’t needed big numbers for Oregon. This season, he’s averaging only 39.7 yards per punt, but four of his 10 punts have landed inside the 20 and eight have resulted in a fair catch.
How Oregon can win
As long as the Ducks arrive at Folsom Field on time and play their usual game, they’ll cruise to victory. Oregon has superior talent and has been one of the best teams in the country throughout the season.
• Oregon comes to Boulder riding a seven-game winning streak. Since a 49-3 loss to defending national champion Georgia, the Ducks have dominated, winning six of seven games by at least 15 points.
• The Ducks have racked up 500-plus yards in total offense in each of the last five games. That is Oregon’s longest such streak since eight consecutive games in 2014.
• Since CU joined the Pac-12 in 2011, Oregon is 7-1 against the Buffs. The only CU win was the dramatic, 41-38 upset in 2016. Oregon has averaged 49.0 points in those eight games, with at least 38 in each contest. CU has averaged 17.4 points.
• Seven different Oregon players have rushed for at least 100 yards against CU in the Pac-12 era, including two that did it twice (Royce Freeman and Kenjon Barner). The Ducks’ leading rusher this year, Bucky Irving, has only one 100-yard game. But, he ran for 89 yards on 15 carries against CU last year when he was playing for Minnesota. (Those were the first 15 carries of his collegiate career).
• Four different players have punted for the Ducks, including quarterback Bo Nix, who has averaged 33.5 yards on two punts. Overall, 14 of Oregon’s 22 punts have been fair catches and nine have landed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.