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No. 8 Oregon snaps No. 13 Utah’s 18-game home winning streak with dominant 35-6 win

No. 8 Oregon put an end to No. 13 Utah’s 18-game home winning streak, and it did so emphatically.

The Ducks went into Rice-Eccles Stadium and thoroughly dominated the Utes, 35-6, in a significant game in the Pac-12 title race.

With the win, Oregon improved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 play while handing the Utes (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) their second conference loss. The Ducks also kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive ahead of the CFP selection committee’s first rankings of the season on Tuesday.

The Ducks set the tone early on as they marched right down the field on their opening possession and did not let up. Oregon had a 21-6 lead by halftime and then scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to further build up the lead. Utah, which has won despite an array of injuries, just could not keep up.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) scores against Utah on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Salt Lake City. Nix led a dominant win for the Ducks. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) scores against Utah on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Salt Lake City. Nix led a dominant win for the Ducks. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Bryson Barnes, the former walk-on who has been starting at quarterback for Utah in place of the injured Cam Rising, had an excellent performance in a road win over USC last week. In this one, he was completely overwhelmed by the swarming Oregon defense. Barnes threw for only 136 yards with two interceptions while the Utes’ rushing attack was held to only 68 yards. In all, Utah could muster only 241 yards — and 77 of those came on its final two drives when the game was well in hand.

On the other side, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix continued to show why he is a Heisman Trophy candidate. Nix has been remarkably efficient, and that was on full display in Salt Lake City as he diced up the excellent Utah defense. Nix threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a score.

Once the Ducks took a 35-6 lead at the 6:08 mark of the third quarter on a Nix lateral to Traeshon Holden from five yards out, they essentially put the offense in cruise control and were content to take up clock and lean on the defense the rest of the way.

Looking ahead, Oregon is in an excellent position to get to the Pac-12 title game. The Ducks started the year 5-0 but lost a heartbreaker to Washington two weeks ago. Washington remains undefeated headed into Saturday night’s game vs. Stanford, and the two could be on a collision course for a rematch in the conference championship game. Not only would the league title be on the line, but that matchup — should it come to fruition — could decide a CFP berth.

Three of Oregon’s final four regular season games are at home. In the next two weeks, Oregon will host Cal and USC before the Nov. 18 road trip to Arizona State. The Ducks will then host rival Oregon State in the regular season finale on Nov. 24. The Beavers are 6-1 and ranked No. 11 ahead of their game at Arizona on Saturday night. Oregon State will certainly have a say in the Pac-12 race.

On the Utes' side, their chances of a third consecutive Pac-12 title just got tougher. The fact that Utah got to 6-1 with so many key players sidelined is a testament to the work of Kyle Whittingham and his coaching staff. The offense had struggled mightily before wins over Cal and USC in their previous two outings, and those issues resurfaced against Oregon, a team with a much stronger defense.