Oregon rallied from a 10-point deficit with only 9 minutes left in the game and defeated North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl 28 – 27. Oregon stormed back after not being able to generate much offense and trailing for most of the game. Bo Nix rallied Oregon late, however, throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Troy Franklin with 6:58 left in the game and the clincher to Chase Cota from 13 yards out. North Carolina kicked a field goal in between Oregon’s 4th-quarter touchdowns and gained a last possession after Oregon went ahead 28 – 27 with 19 seconds left. With some help from the officials, the Tar Heels advanced the ball to their own 47 and completed a pass into Oregon territory with one second put back on the clock by the officials. North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye’s desperation Hail Mary pass fell incomplete in the end zone, and the Ducks could walk away with a win.
For the game, Nix was 23 – 30 for 205 yards, 1 touchdown and a bizarre interception that was kicked into the air by two different Tar Heels and ended what would have been an Oregon scoring drive. Bucky Irving led all rushers with 149 yards on just 13 carries and scored twice, including on an electric 66-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Tight End Terrance Ferguson led Oregon receivers with 5 catches for 84 yards. Cota caught 3 balls for 42 yards and the late touchdown and Franklin had 5 receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Oregon’s defense looked lost at times during the night, but ultimately held Maye to 18 – 35 and 206 yards – but 3 touchdowns. North Carolina ran the ball more than expected, running 34 times for 116 yards. Maye had good success early on designed run plays and proved difficult to bring down on scrambles. He ended up rushing 12 times for 45 yards.
Maye spread the ball around, throwing touchdown passes to Kobe Paysour, Bryson Nesbit and Andre Greene, Jr. Oregon’s secondary had difficulty running with Tar Heel receivers – most of Maye’s completions were uncontested by Oregon defenders – but the Ducks tightened up late in the game and kept North Carolina out of the end zone the entire second half. Holding the Tar Heels to field goals and only 6 points after halftime was what gave Oregon’s offense a chance to win the game.
Oregon finishes its season with a 10 – 3 record, and a potential Top 10 ranking.