The I-5: Bo Nix for Heisman? The Oregon quarterback is building a resume
The five things you need to know from this weekend in the Northwest.
Hand up: I’ll be the first person to say I never expected to spend part of my weekend looking through stats to compare Bo Nix to other Heisman candidates halfway through the season.
I was ready to bury the guy’s Oregon career back in Atlanta. You probably were too.
Nix’s two interceptions were back-breakers in a game the Ducks would have lost anyway, but considering his history as a three-year starter at Auburn and the fact that some form of “Welcome to the Bo Nix experience” starts trending on Twitter anytime he makes a mistake, it felt like Oregon was in for another year of quarterbacks setting the message boards on fire.
I didn’t think Nix could get better. I was wrong.
On Saturday, Nix completed 80 percent of his passes for 265 yards, rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns and turned any of those worries about the Ducks being upset in the desert into a good laugh. Statistically, Nix is having the best season of his career. Tactically, he is the maestro of the No. 5 offense in the country and has led the Ducks to five consecutive wins and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here, but the numbers aren’t THAT far off the Heisman Trophy pace.
Here’s Marcus Mariota’s stats through six games in 2014:
1,621 passing yards, 69.7% completion, 17 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
290 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns.
And here’s Nix:
1,526 passing yards, 70.4% completion, 12 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
331 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns
The only drastic difference there are Nix’s turnovers, which have been minimized since the Georgia game. Actually since Georgia, Nix is averaging 329.4 total yards, 4 total touchdowns and .25 turnovers per game.
“I didn’t see the ball put in jeopardy,”Oregon coach Dan Lanning said of Nix after Oregon’s 49-22 win over Arizona Saturday. “He’s playing like a smart quarterback right now, operating the way he’s been operating. He’s obviously really talented, does a great job with his feet, but gives us a chance to win when he plays like he did tonight.”
Said Nix: “When we stay out of our own way, when we just execute the play that’s called, and when we own the ball and we don’t have a bunch of penalties, you kind of just see what we’ve been doing the past few games.”
For the last five games, what they’ve been doing is averaging 50 points per game.
To be clear, Nix has a ton of ground to cover. A week ago he wasn’t even among the 19 players receiving votes in The Athletic’s weekly poll, with players like Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and USC’s Caleb Williams predictably leading the charge.
And while Nix has a long way to go to catch Stroud statistically, Nix has arguably been the better quarterback than the heralded Williams so far in 2022.
Williams: 1,590 passing yards, 64.9%, 14 touchdowns, 1 interception, 178 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
Stroud: 1,737 passing yards, 70.6%, 24 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, -4 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns.