Washington in the Driver’s Seat to Return to the College Football Playoffs

Photo Cred: The Seattle Times

Michael Penix Jr. showed why he’s one of the top prospects and Heisman candidates as he led his Washington Huskies to a nail-biting 36-33 victory over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday. The game had aggressive play calling from both sides, and several critical errors by Oregon may have ultimately been the deciding factor in their loss. From the start, the game was a battle between Nix and Penix being at the top of their games.

The Michael Penix Jr. vs. Bo Nix Duel

National media react to Michael Penix Jr.'s big game in UW's win over Oregon | The Seattle Times

Photo Cred: SI

Penix threw for four touchdowns and 302 yards on 22 of 37 passing attempts. Nix completed 33 of his 44 passes for two touchdowns and 337 yards. Bucky Irving was another bright spot for Oregon, rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Ducks were in great condition after coming back from an 11-point deficit to start the second half, gaining the lead, and coming up with a massive goal-line stand to force a turnover on downs from Washington in the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing drive, however, the Ducks failed to convert on fourth down for the third time in the game. They gave the ball back to Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies offense at midfield. Penix would only need two plays to go 53 yards and make a beautiful connection to Rome Odunze to put the Huskies up by three. Bo Nix had one final chance and got the Ducks to the Washington 25, but kicker Camden Lewis pushed his 45-yard field goal attempt far right, thus sealing a Washington victory.

The Ducks’ Aggressive Play Calling Dooms Them 

Oregon's Dan Lanning takes aggressive mindset too far with controversial fourth-down calls at Washington - CBSSports.com

Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Dan Lanning took the blame on his shoulders after the game, saying to reporters: “This game’s 100% on me. I don’t think you guys have to look anywhere else but me.”

Two of the Ducks’ three failed fourth-down conversions were deep in the Huskies territory. Those likely would have been very easy kicks for Camden Lewis, and six more points for the Ducks could have changed this game immensely. However, the heroics of Penix and the Huskies’ offense cannot be understated. They had the Oregon defense on their heels all day. When Penix got the ball back at the 47-yard line, it felt almost predetermined that he would score because of how good he had been and the score he did.

Washington coach Kalen DeBoer summed up the game well by saying: “That was an amazing football game. If there’s one that I’ve been a part of that was bigger and better, I can’t think of it right now”.

The now-#5 Huskies will host Arizona State next Saturday. Likewise, the now-#9 Ducks will host Washington State in a return home to Autzen Stadium.

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