If Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal left a lasting legacy in Eugene, a strong and experienced offensive line was his parting gift to the No. 12 Oregon Ducks football program. While Ducks quarterback Bo Nix has stolen the show with his dynamic playmaking abilities and high football IQ — leading the Ducks to score 40-plus points in five straight games — his game-winning performances are the by-product of top-shelf protection from a gang of green upfront.

The Ducks’ offensive line largely consists of TJ BassRyan WalkAlex ForsythMalaesala Aumavae-Laulu, and Steven Jones, who combine for more than 80 starts. Bass was just named the Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week for the second consecutive week — the fourth such award of his career, tying former Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell for the most in the award’s history since 2019, according to University of Oregon.

After drubbing the Wildcats, the Ducks’ offensive line also has not allowed a sack for the fifth game this season. Bass and the Oregon offensive line also did not allow a tackle for loss against the Wildcats, the first time Oregon has done that since 2010,” according to GoDucks.com.

Craig Strobeck

The Ducks offensive linemen celebrate a rushing touchdown against Stanford.

Oregon’s stable of running backs, led by notable performances from Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington, has exploded this year with the benefit of expert blocking from a veteran offensive line consistently parting the raging seas of opposing defenders. In six games, the Ducks have averaged 6.2 yards per carry (241.7 yards per game), rushing for 1,450 yards and 19 touchdowns.

And more help is on the way. Oregon landed the nation’s top offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. to close out the 2022 recruiting class. Three-star interior lineman Bryce Boulton recently announced his commitment to Oregon, making him the first OL pledge for the 2023 recruiting class. The Ducks are also positioned to secure Under Armour All-American offensive lineman Iapani Laloulu, the nation’s No. 7 guard, and Spencer Fano, the No. 1 offensive tackle in the West, according to SB Live.

ESPN College Gameday is coming Oct. 22 for a marquee matchup between No. 12 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) and No. 11 UCLA (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) at Autzen Stadium.

San Diego, California

Top photo by Eric Evans

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