STANFORD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach Dan Lanning of the Oregon Ducks looks on while his team warms up prior to playin the Stanford Cardinal in an NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium on September 30, 2023 in Stanford, California.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Dan Lanning Under Fire for Controversial Fourth Down Decision vs Washington

The Oregon Ducks came up just short against the Washington Huskies on Saturday, and head coach Dan Lanning is under fire for a late-game decision that may have cost his team the game.

All day, it was a back-and-forth game between two of the best teams in the Pac-12. Washington had the biggest lead of the game at 11 in the third quarter before Oregon scored on two straight touchdown drives. Washington QB Michael Penix and Oregon QB Bo Nix are two Heisman candidates for over 600 yards passing and six touchdowns.

Oregon was up 33-29 with just over 2:18 left in the game and had fourth and three from the Washington 47-yard line. Oregon head coach Dan Lanning decided to go for it, threw the ball, and didn't get it. The decision by Lanning left many perplexed when he could have punted and pinned Washington deep in their own territory with no timeouts left. It was not his first questionable call of the game as they went for it on fourth and goal with four seconds left in the first half instead of kicking a field goal.  Washington took over and had all momentum on their side.

Needless to say, the college football world was pretty frustrated with Lanning's decision.

It took Washington two plays to score with a 35-yard catch from Ja'Lynn Polk before Rome Odunze caught an 18-yard pass for a touchdown to take a 36-33 lead. Oregon still had a chance to win with 1:38 left. Nix went 10 plays and 50 yards to set up a field goal with four seconds left. Oregon kicker Camden Lewis missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired.

The scene at Husky Stadium, after Washington won the game, was electric and displayed the passion that is college football. Michael Penix finished with 302 yards passing, four touchdowns, and one interception. Bo Nix had 337 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. We will never know what happened if Lanning had punted, but many are questioning why he decided to go for it. Nix was not the reason why Oregon lost the game, but at the end of the game, he had his chance to keep Oregon undefeated.

Regardless, it was a great matchup between two of the best in the country.

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