No. 6 Oregon hands Cal a 63-19 loss as Bears suffer 4th straight loss

Cal, with just one road victory over Oregon in the past 35 years, was right there, trailing just 14-13 in the second quarter at rainy Autzen Stadium.

And in seemingly no time, it was over.

The No. 6 Ducks scored 21 points in the final 5:21 of the first half, including a pair of touchdown passes by Bo Nix, and Oregon took a commanding 35-13 lead into halftime on a rainy afternoon in Eugene, Ore.

When it was over, the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) owned a 63-19 victory which should allow them to at least maintain their No. 6 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Bears (3-6, 1-5) lost their fourth straight game to a Top-25 conference opponent and have clinched their 14th consecutive losing record in Pac-12 play. Cal closes its home schedule next Saturday against Washington State and needs to sweep its final three games to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2019.

Freshman running back Jaivan Thomas of Oakland was injured with 4:05 to play in the third quarter after fumbling the ball while approaching the Oregon goal line. He remained motionless on the field for close to 15 minutes, was strapped to a stretcher, his head immobilized, and taken off the field on a cart.

Thomas was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center Riverbend in Eugene.

There was no immediate word on the condition of the former McClymonds High star.

One week after scoring 49 points in a one-point defeat to USC, the Bears offense labored against Oregon. After the Ducks jumped out to a 14-0 lead, Cal scored on an 18-yard fumble return by cornerback Nohl Williams bookended by field goals of 43 and 27 yards by freshman Mateen Bhagani.

The second of those brought Cal within 14-13 at 11:28 of the second quarter. But Oregon broke it open by scoring on its next three possessions.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) dodges California linebacker Blake Antzoulatos (32) during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman) 

Nix stretched the Ducks’ lead to 21-13 when he converted a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 5:21 to play in the second quarter.

Nix threw a 14-yard TD pass to his adopted brother, Tez Johnson, for a 28-13 lead with 1:39 to play. Then, after a 47-yard punt return to the Cal 21 by Johnson, Oregon cashed in with Nix passing 7 yards to Troy Franklin with 6 seconds left in the half.

The Bears wound up allowing at least 50 points for the fourth time this season, the third time in their past four games.

The game came 10 years after future No. 1 NFL draft pick Jared Goff, in his fourth game as a freshman starter, simply could not hold onto the ball in an Oregon rainstorm and was pulled after going 3 for 7 for 11 yards in a 55-16 loss to the No. 2 Ducks.

It wasn’t the rain so much that bothered Cal redshirt freshman Fernando Mendoza, making his fourth start — all against Top-25 opponents. Mendoza had thrown two touchdowns in each of his first three games, but Oregon’s defense pressured him all day — including into a pair of first-half turnovers, each leading to a touchdown.

Mendoza finished the game 18 for 34 for 177 yards without a touchdown.

Jaydn Ott, who left the USC game in the fourth quarter last week after rushing for 153 yards, had 93 yards on 20 carries. He scored Cal’s first offensive touchdown of the day on a 20-yard run with 13:47 left in the third quarter that got the Bears within 35-19.

Oregon answered with a touchdown to make it 42-19 and Cal got no closer.

Nix, who entered the game leading the nation with a 78-percent pass completion rate, connected on just 7 of his first 13 throws. But he threw just three more incompletions, finishing 29 for 38 for 386 yards with four touchdown passes and two scoring runs.

The first quarter was a turnover fest, each team coughing the ball up twice. Oregon had given it up just twice in eight previous games.

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