Oregon vs.  Washington score, takeaways: Michael Penix Jr. shines as No. 25 Huskies rally to stun No. 6 Ducks

Oregon vs. Washington score, takeaways: Michael Penix Jr. shines as No. 25 Huskies rally to stun No. 6 Ducks

No. 25 Washington rallied for a stunning 37-34 upset over No. 6 Oregon on Saturday in a game with major Pac-12 title and College Football Playoff implications. Peyton Henry drilled a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in regulation, and the Huskies’ defense came up with a huge stop from there to clinch Washington’s first win in the border rivalry since 2017.

The outcome is a fatal blow for Oregon’s hopes of making the CFP under first-year coach Dan Lanning as the Ducks suffered their second loss of the season. Though Oregon remains in the Pac-12 title hunt, it is no longer alone at the top of the standings as it was entering the night.

Michael Penix Jr. entered as the nation’s leader in passing yards per game for Washington and threw for 408 yards to lead the Huskies. He found Taj Davis for a 62-yard touchdown with 3:07 remaining to tie the game at 34-34. After a huge fourth-down stop for Washington on the ensuing possession, Henry hit the go-ahead field goal — his third make on three attempts.

Jalen McMillan led Washington with eight receptions for 122 yards. Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington each surpassed 100 yards rushing for Oregon, and quarterback Bo Nix turned in another big game with 280 yards passing, 59 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Washington’s high-powered attack.

Penix’s redemption

When Penix hit Davis for the game-tying touchdown with 3:02 remaining, it marked a critical moment of redemption for the redshirt senior after a catastrophic miscue on the Huskies’ previous possession. Washington was driving while trailing 31-27 early in the fourth quarter and had a first-and-goal at the Oregon 2-yard line … when disaster struck. Penix rolled to his right and let an ill-advised pass fly toward the end zone. It was tipped into the air and intercepted by Oregon’s Jeffery Bassa at the 1-yard line.

Had Penix thrown the football away, the Huskies would have had three more chances to pick up 2 yards for the go-ahead score. Instead, the Ducks took over and began a methodical drive that bled the majority of the fourth-quarter clock.

Thankfully for Penix and the Huskies, their defense stiffened on a critical third-and-5 play to keep Oregon out of the end zone and prevent the Ducks from going ahead by two scores. Oregon settled for a field goal to make it 34-27, and Penix found Davis two plays later to even the score.

Bo Nix’s injury

Alex Cook hits Nix on a quarterback draw before he could reach the first down marker on the aforementioned third-and-5 play. Nix struggled to get up and needed help exiting the field. Washington scored quickly, affording Nix little time to recover. Backup quarterback Ty Thompson entered on the next possession goal didn’t throw the football as the Ducks quickly went four-and-out while failing to convert a risky fourth-and-1 play from their own 34-yard line.

Though it appeared Nix was ready to reenter the game, which may have opened the playbook up a bit for Oregon, Thompson took the fourth-down snap, which ended in Whittington slipping and going down well short of the sticks. The failed possession set up Washington with a short field for Henry’s go-ahead kick. Nix was able to come back on Oregon’s ensuing possession as the Ducks tried to mount a last-minute drive that ultimately ended with an incomplete heave on the game’s final play.

Pac-12 title picture

Oregon is now one of four teams in the Pac-12 with one conference loss along with No. 8 USC, No. 9 UCLA and No. 13 Utah, meaning there remains much to be sorted out before it’s clear who will be playing in the league title game on Friday, Dec. 2. USC picked up a win over Colorado on Friday, and Utah and UCLA were in action as favorites late Saturday night. Oregon’s loss only magnifies the significance of the Ducks’ game against the Utes next week.

The Trojans and Bruins also battle next week in a similarly huge showdown. Both contests will be vital to deciding the league title matchup in the conference’s first season of scrapping the traditional format that pitted division winners against each other. Instead, the teams with the best league records will play in the title game this year.

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