No. 10 Oregon made a huge statement with a 45-30 rout of No. 9 and previously-unbeaten UCLA on Saturday. Ducks quarterback Bo Nix went 22-of-28 passing for 283 yards and five touchdowns on the afternoon as he helped solidify his team as the Pac-12 frontrunner as the second half of the season commences.
The two teams traded field goals in the first quarter of a game that initially appeared would be won and lost in the trenches. Nix tossed four touchdown passes in the second quarter -- including two to Troy Franklin -- to bust the game open and give coach Dan Lanning's crew a 31-13 lead at the break. Franklin ended the day leading all receivers with eight catches for 132 yards and those two touchdown receptions.
Perhaps more impressive, though, was a Ducks defense that held the high-octane Bruins offense in check for essentially the entire 60 minutes. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 27 of 39 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and one interception but couldn't stretch the field deep on a consistent basis, which made things tough for the offense throughout the game.
Below are the primary takeaways from Oregon's big win over UCLA.
Ducks are back in College Football Playoff hunt
Lanning's team has ripped off six straight wins after their season-opening loss to No. 1 Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Since then, the Ducks have scored 41 or more points in each game and haven't averaged less than 6.79 yards per play during that winning streak. Translation: Oregon is a legitimate threat to make the College Football Playoff.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and championship weekend. But the offense looks unstoppable and the only daunting hurdle between Saturday's win and the end of the regular season is a home game against No. 15 Utah on Nov. 19. As we saw against the Bruins, that Autzen Stadium advantage -- a place where Oregon has won 23 straight games -- is huge in big games.
One problem that could stand in the way, however, is the fact that the Ducks do have a lopsided head-to-head loss to Georgia on their resume. If it gets down to a situation where a one-loss Georgia and one-loss Oregon are the two teams vying for the fourth and final CFP spot, there's no way Oregon can win that argument.
Bo Nix has found a home
Remember when Nix was viewed as an inconsistent quarterback who didn't live up to the recruiting hype that followed him to Auburn in 2019? That was less than a year ago, and he has changed the narrative in a hurry. His 17 touchdown passes through seven games are five more than he had in any of his three seasons on the Plains. When you factor in his eight touchdowns on the ground, there's no doubt that he's finally following through on what so many people saw in him as a high-schooler.
Does that make him a Heisman Trophy candidate? Not yet. Tennessee's Hendon Hooker and Ohio State's CJ Stroud are the two front-runners, and neither did anything to hurt their chances on Saturday. With that said, he's one of the most valuable players on any roster in the country. If he can translate that to the ultimate team success, he might have a chance of jumping into that race depending on how the landscape evolves over the next month-plus.