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Ducks run past Stanford, while Beavers now face questions after four interceptions in loss at Utah. Also, a fun week for Portland State.



Dan Lanning is a defensive coach, right?

Well, so far it's the Oregon offense that's impressing with Bo Nix running the show, and in last Saturday's 45-27 win over Stanford, running wild.

Heading into an Oct. 8 trip to Tucson to take on Arizona (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network), the Ducks offense seems to be the only team that can stop the Ducks offense. So far, the Ducks have been good enough to overcome costly penalties and some red-zone miscues. They have scored 41 or more points in each of their four consecutive wins, have produced more than 500 yards of offense in three of those games and more than 600 yards twice.

Now, let's be honest. The version of Stanford football that visited Autzen Stadium on Oct. 1 is a team this Oregon squad should handle. Bigger hurdles await. Even this week against an Arizona team Oregon will have a talent edge against could go the wrong way if Oregon commits double-digit penalties again.

At the very least, Arizona (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) should be a more confident squad than Stanford was. The Wildcats handled woeful Colorado 43-20 last week. A season ago, Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon. But, that was as Washington State's QB. Against the Buffaloes he threw for 484 yards and six touchdowns.

So, the Oregon defense will need to continue to improve. Its attacking style reflects Lanning's personality.

But, it's on offense where that let-er-rip outlook is entertaining. The Ducks don't trick people. But they do stretch the field vertically, a rarity under Mario Cristobal. And, Nix has effectively shared the ball, getting it quickly to his playmakers. Though, who can blame Nix if he starts throwing more to Troy Franklin. The sophomore had a couple more unbelievably difficult catches against Stanford, one a toe-tapper for a TD when the game was still in play.

Of course, as we seem to write every week, the Ducks will go as far as their veteran offensive line takes them. Yes, Nix was "sacked" once against Stanford (a 1-yard loss). But running backs Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington are running hard for their blockers, and also have the quickness to turn short gains into something bigger.

Add in the footwork of Nix, who ran for 141 yards including an 80-yard TD against Stanford, and it's a fun combination to watch —and a difficult one to defend.

— Paul Danzer

Beavers' reality check

Well, that was a reality check for Oregon State.

OSU could not get the offense clicking consistently under either of its quarterbacks at Utah, while the Beaver defense was equal parts porous and pushover. There were some highlights, most notably Silas Bolden's double-reverse touchdown run in the first half, but it was a forgettable Saturday for the most part.

Ben Gulbranson came in for Nolan and made some good throws, but he also had two key interceptions to go along with the two Nolan threw. There were also some third-and-long situations where the redshirt freshman hit receivers well short of the first-down line. The decision-making was questionable at times, but this loss cannot be laid at the feet of any one person.

The OSU defense had plenty of its own issues. The Beavers allowed Utah quarterback Cam Rising to complete 76% of his passes while hitting receivers for three touchdowns on the Oregon State secondary. The Utes also gained over 5 yards per carry on the ground, thanks in part to some weak tackling. The Beavers have had a shutdown defense at home this year, but the Beavers are allowing over 33 points per game away from Reser Stadium (including a 68-28 win over Montana State in Portland).

Unlike last week's close loss to USC, there are no moral victories to be dragged from Salt Lake. Following the loss to the Trojans on Sept. 24, the Beavers still had a lot of optimism around the program. Now, things look a bit shakier in Corvallis as Oregon State drops to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play.

This current state of affairs is a far cry from the three-game winning streak the team put together to open the season. The most glaring problem the past two weeks, of course, has been at the quarterback position. Nolan has six picks over his past five quarters of play, and while Gulbranson showed flashes of potential, he also threw two interceptions in the end zone to kill promising drives.

Heading to a road matchup at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, against Stanford might do the trick for the Beavers to get back to the good vibes of the first three weeks and forget about the ugliness that was in Salt Lake City.

— Andy Dieckhoff



A win for Portland State

It should be a fun week in the Park Blocks.

The Portland State Vikings get to stay home for the second of three consecutive games at Hillsboro Stadium, and this time they are the big boys as Division II Lincoln of California visits.

PSU has a confident quarterback. Coach Bruce Barnum took the reins off of sophomore Dante Chachere on Oct. 1 against Northern Arizona and was rewarded with a five-touchdown performance in a 35-27 win.

"I was being too conservative with Dante. I kind of had a governor on him in previous games," Barnum said. "He had to execute and run our system. I told him today, 'just roll,' and he did a hell of a job."

Chachere's touchdowns against NAU included three passes to Beaverton's Mataio Talalemotu of 23, 17 and 66 yards, the latter on a fourth-and-short gamble from the PSU 34. Those were the only three catches of the day for Talalemotu. Chachere also ran 12 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Lincoln is 0-4 and has been outscored 203-30, including a 42-10 loss to Western Oregon. So, this should be another fun week for the Viks before a visit from Weber State on Oct. 15.

— Paul Danzer

Northwest Conference

The first weekend of conference play included an upset win for Pacific Lutheran at George Fox. Lewis & Clark suffered its first loss as Whitworth threw for 430 yards in a 66-28 win over the Pioneers. Linfield routed Puget Sound 66-2 and pacific beat Willamette 35-0.

The Oct. 8 schedule: Lewis & Clark at PLU, Linfield a Whitworth, George Fox at Willamette, Pacific at Puget Sound.


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