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Penix’s Late TD Pass Lifts Washington To Wild Victory Against Oregon

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Rome Odunze wanted to say a few words about his Washington colleague who was manning the microphones before he left the room.

Even though voting is still months away, Penix’s Heisman moment may have occurred on the largest platform on Saturday for two longstanding rivals from the Pacific Northwest.

In another contentious fourth-down decision by Oregon, Penix connected Odunze on an 18-yard touchdown throw with 1:38 left in the game, and Camden Lewis missed a 43-yard from goal try on the final play as No. 7 Washington defeated No. 8 Oregon 36-33 in another tumultuous episode of their intense rivalry.

The first time the rivals faced up in their 115th meeting, both teams were ranked in the top 10, and two quarterbacks—Penix and Bo Nix—should be in the running for college football’s top player honors.

And the contest, which may have been the largest ever between the rivals, lived up to the expectations. There were offensive fireworks, erratic changes in momentum, massive plays from both QBs, and decisions that one fan group will be questioning.

It was the ideal ending to the afternoon, which saw Washington supporters throng the field as “Purple Rain” by Prince played over the stadium speakers.

The final regular-season matchup before both programs join the Big Ten the following year might be the curtain-raiser for the Pac-12’s final campaign as we currently know it.

The conference championship game in Las Vegas might include a rematch. Part I’s first 60 minutes were filled with tension, thrills, and mystery.

When Oregon was stopped on a fourth-and-3 at the Washington 47 with 2:11 left, Penix needed just two plays to go 53 yards in 33 seconds. Penix gave Washington (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) the lead with a 35-yard strike to Ja’Lynn Polk between two defenders, followed by a back-shoulder toss to Odunze at the goal line.

Odunze, who had eight receptions for 128 yards, was the recipient of Penix’s second touchdown pass of the game, which was his fourth overall. Finishing 22 of 37 for 302 yards was Penix. The teams combined for five straight touchdown drives in the first half, and he delivered touchdown passes of 26 yards to Polk and Giles Jackson during that time.

Nix contributed and occasionally outperformed other quarterbacks. He inspired Oregon to come back from an early second-half 11-point hole, and with 12:58 left, Jordan James’ 10-yard TD run gave them the lead at 33-29.

With 17 seconds left, Nix had one final opportunity to get the Ducks (5-1, 2-1) into field goal range and reached the Washington 25.

After Nix missed his next two passes, Lewis pushed the game-winning kick to the right, sparking a frenzied celebration from the purple-clad spectators who had poured onto the field.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Oregon appeared poised to replicate the Huskies’ close victory from a year ago in Eugene. With 6:33 left in the game, Tybo Rogers was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the Ducks’ 1 after Washington was stopped on three run plays within the Oregon 2-yard line. Taki Taimani and others stopped him short of the goal line.

But with 2:11 left, Nix’s ball intended for Tez Johnson was incomplete, forcing the Ducks to halt on a fourth-and-3 situation just inside the midfield.

The Ducks failed on fourth down for the third time in the contest; the first two times occurred inside the Washington 10-yard line.

Nix completed 33 of 44 passes for 337 yards and tossed touchdowns of 11 and 30 yards to Patrick Herbert and Troy Franklin, respectively, in the first and second halves of the game. Bucky Irving added 127 yards and a score while running.

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