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Bo Nix, No. 8 Oregon dominate No. 23 Liberty at Fiesta Bowl

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Heisman Trophy finalist Bo Nix threw five touchdown passes including four in the the second quarter, and No. 8 Oregon steamrolled No. 23 Liberty 45-6 on Monday in the Fiesta Bowl.

Nix, in his final collegiate game after two seasons at Oregon and three at Auburn, tied a Fiesta Bowl record for TD passes in a game. The Ducks, who just missed the College Football Playoff with a close loss to Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game, scored 45 unanswered points after trailing 6-0 in the first quarter.

Nix completed 28 of 35 passes for 363 yards, and wide receiver Tez Johnson had 11 catches for 172 yards and was one of five different receivers to catch a touchdown pass. Oregon (12-2) held previously undefeated Liberty (13-1) to its season low in points.

The Ducks’ Bucky Irving, who announced his intentions to enter the NFL draft but opted to play in the bowl game, rushed for 117 yards on 14 carries and added a touchdown run.

Liberty got the ball first and scored a touchdown in six plays. Quarterback Kaidon Salter had plenty of time to pick a receiver and found Bentley Hanshaw for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

The Flames didn’t score again, as Salter was held to 126 passing yards and Oregon outgained Liberty 584-294 in total yards.

The Ducks went ahead 10-6 early in the second quarter on Nix’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Gary Bryant Jr., a play set up by Irving’s 44-yard swerving run deep into Liberty territory.

Oregon’s defense delivered hard hits and established control after Liberty’s first possession, and the Ducks offense got going as well. Dropped passes and batted balls didn’t affect Oregon’s ability to move the ball, and the Ducks went up 17-6 on Nix’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Terrance Ferguson with 7:13 to go in the first half.

At halftime, Oregon had a 31-6 lead. Nix’s flip to Kenyon Sadiq for a 3-yard touchdown was set up by another of the Ducks’ several explosive plays on the day, a 50-yard pass to Bryant.

Oregon stopped a Liberty drive before halftime with Steve Stephens IV’s interception. Then Nix needed just five plays and 1:09 on the clock to find Traeshon Holden for a 17-yard touchdown with 3 seconds left.

The Ducks added two more touchdowns in the second half before Nix exited mid-drive in the fourth quarter to cheers from Oregon fans.

–By Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media

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