Seattle, WA – In a highly anticipated matchup, the Oregon Ducks faced off against their long-time rivals, the Washington Huskies, in what was the final game for both teams within the Pac-12 Conference. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions for both teams and their passionate fan bases. Despite having several opportunities to put points on the board, the Ducks’ decision to go for it on fourth down not once, but twice, ultimately proved costly. These gambles left the team and its supporters in shock as they watched a hard-fought game slip away.

The game started with high expectations for the Ducks, who entered the contest as underdogs by 3.5 points. They displayed flashes of brilliance, with their dynamic offense showcasing their talents, and they demonstrated strong offensive line strength and a powerful running game led by Bucky Irving and Jordan James. However, what looked like a promising day quickly turned into a nail-biting affair. The Ducks found themselves in crucial fourth-down situations, and it’s the decisions they made in those moments that will be dissected and analyzed for days, weeks, and months to come.

The Huskies opened strong with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Michael Penix, Jr. to Giles Jackson. The extra point by Grady Gross would make it 7-0 Huskies. Oregon would follow with a rushing TD by Irving from 12 yards out. Rather than tie the game at 7, the Ducks chose to go for 2 and converted, going up 8-7, after tight end Patrick Herbert ran the ball in.

The game would go back and forth from there until Oregon, down 18-22 with under a minute remaining in the first half, put together a brilliant drive all the way down to the Washington 3-yard line. However, rather than kick a field goal, take 3 points, and make the score 21-22 at the half, the Ducks tried to go for it on fourth down and failed.

Washington would extend their lead in the third quarter, making the score 29-18. Oregon would march back strong, but once again face a fourth down in the red zone. This time at the Washington 8-yard line, the Ducks would again choose not to kick a field goal for 3 points and would fail to convert.

On the drives that followed, the Ducks defense would stop the Huskies, and the offense would score. They would again go for 2, and they were successful. Washington’s lead was narrowed to 26-29, but Oregon should have been up 32-29 at this point. They would stop the Huskies again on the next drive, and they would score on their own offensive possession. The lead changed, and it was 33-29 Oregon, but it should have been 39-29.

Now late in the fourth quarter, the Huskies needed only one score to regain the lead and win. Oregon should have had a 10-point lead and breathing room. Penix did his job and led the Huskies to a late score despite wincing in pain and reaching for his ribs and abdomen after multiple hits. The score went to 36-33 Washington as the lead changed back to the home team.

At this point, the Ducks were scrambling. They did manage to get downfield. They had a chance once more, but failed to convert for what would have surely been a game-winning touchdown. Instead, they settled for a last-second field goal attempt, one that would have sent the game into overtime. This time, however, the attempt was missed. The game was over. The Huskies won. Final score: 36-33.

Conventional wisdom in football would typically dictate a field goal attempt in situations where a team faces fourth down in the red zone. Unfortunately, Head Coach Dan Lanning, and his Offensive Coordinator, Will Stein, chose to roll the dice and go for it – twice! The Oregon offense, filled with confidence, lined up to execute the plays each time. The result, on both occasions, was heartbreaking for the Ducks.

The loss left the Oregon Ducks and their fans in a state of shock and disappointment. While fourth-down gambles can sometimes be the right call, the decision to forgo field goal attempts in two critical situations cost them the game. Hindsight is often 20/20, and the debate surrounding these decisions will likely linger for a very long time.

This loss serves as a reminder of the fine line between bold and reckless decisions in football. The Ducks showed immense confidence in their ability to convert on fourth down, but it came at the expense of crucial points. As the season continues, they must learn from this experience and strive to make more calculated decisions in critical moments.

In the world of college football, there’s always another game, another opportunity for redemption. For the Oregon Ducks, this loss will sting for a long while, but on the field, they must regroup, learn from their mistakes, and come back even stronger. The rivalry with the Washington Huskies remains as intense as ever, and Ducks fans can rest assured that their team will be back, hungrier than ever, in the battles to come.

Next up for the Ducks is a return home to face the Washington State Cougars. That game will be televised on ABC and will begin at 12:30 PM Pacific on October 21. The Huskies, meanwhile, will face the Arizona State Sundevils. That game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, and it will begin at 7:30 PM Pacific on October 21.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Truong Nguyen are ©2023 Truong Nguyen made available to American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Truong Nguyen can be found on X as @TruongWin and on Instagram as @truongwin_.