EUGENE, Ore. (ABC4 Sports) – After an extremely promising 2-0 start, the #12 BYU Cougars came crashing back down to Earth Saturday against Oregon, losing 41-20.
Led by quarterback Bo Nix, the Ducks scored on its first six possessions of the game, five touchdowns and one field goal, as Oregon established its dominance early.
“Obviously not the result we were looking for,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “But I have to give a lot of credit to Oregon. They showed up ready to play, more ready than we did, especially at the beginning. It seemed like we just dug ourselves too much of a hole to climb out of.”
Nix completed 13 of 18 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns to tight end Terrance FergusonT, while also rushing for three more scores for the Ducks.
The victory extended Oregon’s winning streak at Autzen Stadium to 21 games, the third-longest in the nation.
The Cougars played without leading receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney again, both out with injuries, and had trouble moving the ball against Oregon’s defense.
Jaren Hall did complete 29 of 41 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, but after BYU fell in a 38-7 hole, many of those yards were irrelevant.
“We just didn’t play as good as we should have starting off,” Hall said. “Had a good first play, had some momentum, but didn’t finish the drive. Then just kind of let things get out of hand offensively the next couple of drives.”
BYU was coming off an historic win over #9 Baylor at home, but its defense looked worn out against the speedy Oregon offense.
Nix gave Oregon a 7-0 lead with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Down 10-0, BYU got back in the game when Hall hooked up with Isaac Rex from 28 yards out for his first touchdown since a gruesome ankle injury last season.
But the Ducks then reeled off 28 unanswered points to put the game away. Nix added touchdown runs from two and six yards, while completing two TD passes to Ferguson from 15 and nine yards out.
“We’ve got to crush the run game,” said linebacker Ben Bywater. “They came out hot, running down our throats so, no excuses. It’s just something we’ve got to work on. Next week we’ll be back to the drawing board and figure it out.”
“We just could not get off the field,”Sitake added. “We could not do much to them in terms of stopping the run. You know, we were down a couple of guys on defense, but that is all right. We feel like we have some great depth. They just could not settle in. The guys made a lot of mistakes.”
BYU did mount a bit of a rally in the fourth quarter, as Hall threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kody Epps. Then after an interception by Ben Bywater, Chris Brooks rushed for a 2-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 38-20.
But Nix led Oregon on a 12-play, 68-yard drive that ate up 8:23 off the clock, culminating in a 25-yard field goal by Camden Lewis to end any comeback hopes.
Oregon racked up 439 yards of total offense, while BYU gained 366 total yards.
For the second straight game, BYU’s running game had trouble getting on track, rushing for just 61 yards on 24 carries. Oregon totaled 212 yards on the ground.
Chase Roberts led the Cougars in receiving for the second consecutive game, catching four passes for 60 yards. Epps and Keanu Hill each had 45 yards receiving.
“Those dudes are good, those dudes are pretty good,” Epps said. “They did what we expected. They’re athletic. We fought, we kept going. At the end of the day they were the better team today. Those dues are pretty great, but we’re going to come back.”
The Cougars were without starting defensive linemen Tyler Batty and Earl Tuioti-Mariner. Kick Jake Oldroyd missed a 38-yard field goal in the opening half, his third straight miss.
BYU was 5-0 against the Pac-12 last season.
BYU (2-1) next hosts Wyoming at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.