PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Quarterback Bo Nix threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Troy Franklin with 1:21 left to give No. 15 Oregon its first lead as the Ducks scored three late touchdowns to defeat Washington State 44-41 on Saturday.
Washington State (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) had taken a 34-22 lead with just over six minutes left, but the Ducks (3-1, 1-0) broke through on offense to secure the victory.
Mase Funa iced the game for Oregon when he intercepted a pass by Cameron Ward and ran it back for a touchdown with a minute remaining.
Nix completed 33 of 44 passes for 428 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The Ducks produced 626 yards of offense.
Oregon’s only loss was at No. 1 Georgia in the season opener.
The Cougars scored on their first possession, as Ward capped a 75-yard drive by running the final five yards for a touchdown.
Oregon drove to the WSU 5, but had to settle for a field goal by Camden Lewis when the WSU defense shut down two rushes from the 5 yard line.
Washington State’s Dean Janikowski kicked a 38-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead.
On the next series, Oregon drove to the WSU 2, but three straight plays failed to punch the ball in and Lewis kicked a 28-yard field goal to cut WSU’s lead to 10-6.
Oregon drove to the WSU 7 on its next possession. But Nix threw an interception to linebacker Francisco Mauigoa, who returned it 95 yards for a touchdown and a 17-6 lead for the Cougars.
Oregon drove right back down to the WSU 8, its fourth trip into the red zone in the first half, but had to settle for Lewis’ 29-yard field goal to trail 17-9 at halftime. The Ducks produced 305 yards and 15 first downs in the first half but failed to reach the end zone.
Momentum changed in the second half.
Oregon came out fast, with Nix throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Mar’Keise Irving with less than a minute gone.
Janikowski kicked a 38-yard field goal to put the Cougars up 20-15.
After Oregon’s first punt of the game, Ward hit De’Zhaun Stribling with a 15-yard touchdown pass to lift WSU to a 27-15 lead near the end of the third quarter.
Jordan James ran for a touchdown for Oregon on the first play of the fourth to cut Washington State’s lead to 27-22.
Washington State drove down the field again and Ward pitched a 1-yard touchdown pass to Robert Ferrel to lift the Cougars to a 34-22 lead with 6:42 left in the game.
Nix led Oregon on a 75-yard drive, throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cam McCormick with 3:48 left to close within 34-29 and set up the later heroics.
Washington State was looking to knock off a ranked team for the second time this season, after winning at Wisconsin earlier. Oregon had scored 110 points in its previous two games, victories over Eastern Washington and No. 12 BYU, and proved its offense was tough to contain.
Oregon hosts Stanford next Saturday.
Washington State hosts California next Saturday, it’s third consecutive home game.