Heisman buzz

EUGENE —The Heisman buzz is growing around Dennis Dixon.

For good reason: Dixon has completed 138 of 199 passes for 1,728 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has thrown just three interceptions.

He has an efficiency rating of 165.81, fourth in the nation.

He can run, too, with 416 yards and seven touchdowns this season. As a result, Dixon is averaging 308.2 yards in total offense, 11th-best nationally.

Dixon has thrown a touchdown pass and run for a score in each of Oregon's games this season, which has been marked by a bond he shares with offensive coordinator Chip Kelly and his embrace of the team's speedy spread-option offense.

CBS's sportsline.com had Dixon ranked third in the Heisman watch, behind Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson.

Dixon, a 6-foot-4 senior, was ranked No. 4 by MSNBC.com and was on espn.com's Experts Poll.

Dixon was also added to the Maxwell Award watch list for college player of the year, joining Oregon tailback Jonathan Stewart.

He's certainly caught the attention of No. 9 USC, which visits the No. 5 Ducks (6-1, 3-1) Saturday. The Trojans (also 6-1, 3-1) will zero in on Dixon, as well as stopping Oregon's rush.

But USC coach Pete Carroll doesn't buy into the comparisons to Vince Young.

"There's nobody that's ever been that fast, that big, that strong. He ran through everybody," Carroll said about Young. "Dennis is not that kind of a runner. Dennis is not like (Washington's) Jake Locker. This is a guy that runs with quickness and speed and finesse."


DON'T FORGET J-STEW: Tailback Jonathan Stewart is also grabbing attention after his big game against Washington last weekend.

Stewart had 31 carries for a career-high 251 yards and two touchdowns. His rushing yards were the second-most in Oregon history and the most in the Pac-10 this season.

With his catches and a kickoff return, Stewart had a total of 305 all-purpose yards in Oregon's 55-34 victory over the Huskies.

Stewart earned Pac-10 offensive player of the week honors with the effort.

Overall, the 5-11, 230-pound junior is averaging 134.29 rushing yards and is ranked sixth nationally.

"He's improved a lot from last year," said Oregon offensive tackle Geoff Schwartz. "He's using his eyes a lot better, and the one thing he's doing is avoiding contact when it's not needed. He's able to run out of bounds and duck his head a little bit. He's not taking the beating he used to take, and that's keeping him fresh and healthy."


EXTRA POINTS: Saturday's game is the first meeting between two top-10 teams in the 41-year history of Autzen Stadium. ... USC has won the last three games against the Ducks, and the past two at Autzen. ... Last season the Trojans beat the Ducks 35-10 in Los Angeles. It was the first of a four-game losing streak for Oregon. ... Three sets of brothers, the Matthews, Rowes and Tupous, will be on opposite sidelines this Saturday.

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