HEADLINE

Arizona State coach quite familiar with Bo Nix, No. 6 Oregon

Field Level Media

November 15, 2023 at 6:17 pm.

No. 6 Oregon travels to Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday trying to stay in the hunt for the College Football Playoff with a victory over an Arizona State team that has the Ducks’ former offensive coordinator as its head coach.

Kenny Dillingham also coached the quarterbacks, including Heisman hopeful Bo Nix, in his one year at Oregon last season before taking the head coaching job at his alma mater.

Dillingham knows all about Nix, who has completed 77.7 percent of his passes (258 of 332) for 3,135 yards with 29 touchdowns and two interceptions for Oregon (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12).

When Dillingham was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, he recruited Nix to Auburn in 2019.

Nix reunited with Dillingham last year at Oregon after three seasons as the Tigers’ starting quarterback.

“He moved to Oregon because of our relationship, essentially,” Dillingham said. “He trusted me. His family trusted me with their son for his second chance at this deal when nobody thought he could throw. Now he’s over there, gonna be a top-10 pick, potentially winning Heismans.”

Oregon’s new offensive coordinator Will Stein was hired by head coach Dan Lanning last December after Dillingham’s departure.

The Ducks are rated No. 2 nationally in total offense at 540 yards per game, trailing only LSU (560.2).

Oregon leads the nation averaging 46.3 points a game.

“They’re probably the best Oregon offense since the Chip Kelly era, since the (Marcus) Mariota era,” Dillingham said. “This is the best Oregon’s been on offense in a long time. That’s including me there last year. They’re better than we were last year.”

The Ducks averaged 500.5 yards per game last year, rating sixth nationally, while scoring 38.8 points a game (tied for ninth in the country).

Arizona State (3-7, 2-5) rates last in the Pac-12 in total offense at 324.5 yards per game, largely because of a depleted offensive line and instability at quarterback because of injuries.

The Sun Devils are coming off a 17-7 win at UCLA after losing 55-3 the previous week at Utah.

Trenton Bourguet, the third-string quarterback coming out of fall camp, did not play in the second half at Utah. He wore a boot on his left foot after suffering an ankle injury.

True freshman Jaden Rashada, the starting quarterback, has not played since the second week of the season because of an undisclosed injury.

His backup, former Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne, has been out for more than a month with a leg injury.

The former walk-on played the entire game at UCLA and completed 19 of 34 pass attempts for 149 yards without a touchdown.

Oregon started the week with the distraction of Lanning’s name mentioned with the coaching vacancy at Texas A&M after the firing of Jimbo Fisher.

“We talk about outside noise a lot in our program,” Lanning said. “I guess the reality here is No. 1, my name and our program would never be a topic of conversation for another school if we didn’t have something here that everybody else wanted.

“The reason we have something here that everybody else wants, that’s because of what our players, our coaches, the support that exist here at Oregon have created. I think I’ve been really, really clear here since Day 1, everything I want exists right here.”