Oregon coach Dan Lanning said he wishes he would have called timeout before the critical fourth and 1 with 1:30 to go against Washington that ended with Ducks running back Noah Whittington slipping in the backfield while quarterback Bo Nix was a bystander on the sideline.
Nix went down after taking a helmet to the thigh on a two-yard run on third and 5 earlier in the fourth quarter and came to the sideline to be evaluated by Oregon’s athletic training staff. He jogged down the sideline to Lanning and asked to go back in with about 1:45 to go. UO ahletic trainer Kevin Steil was several steps behind Nix and appeared to say something to Lanning with 1:40 to go. Oregon had two timeouts remaining as the clock ran and Washington’s defense had eight players in the box against an unbalanced formation with three receivers to the left, a tight end on the left side and Whittington left of backup quarterback Ty Thompson. The ball wasn’t snapped until 1:30.
“We just talked right when it happened,” Lanning said. “Bo said, ‘Coach I feel good.’ I said, ‘Let me confirm’ and I said ‘You’ll go in the next play.’ Why not timeout? Really in retrospect I wished I would have called a timeout based on the look we got, not so much just to get Bo in.
“It’s really easy to go back and replay the game in your head. There’s probably 10 plays that I would have played a lot different. It’s not so much about necessarily putting Bo in that situation; they had a really advantageous look for what we gave. Wish I could have called a timeout more so than anything for that look.”
The Huskies took over and scored what proved to be the game-winning 43-yard field goal in the 37-34 loss for the Ducks, whose College Football Playoff hopes were extinguished in the process.
Nix completed 19 of 28 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns, while adding eight carries for 55 yards and a touchdown.
After he returned with UW leading, Nix threw back-to-back incompletions and was sacked on third down. Then he completed passes of 19, 10 and 12 yards to get to Washington’s 38. A 17-yard pass to Troy Franklin was nullified by an illegal touching penalty and Nix’s final throw fell short of Franklin over the middle.
Nix is completing 72.9% of his passes, which leads the country, for 2,774 yards with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions, has run for 512 yards and 14 scores and had two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. He leads the Pac-12 in passer efficiency (173.16) and is one of six FBS quarterbacks with 2,000 yards passing and 500 yards rushing.
Lanning wouldn’t share an update on the status of Nix or several other injured UO players to start this week. The No. 12 Ducks host No. 10 Utah on Saturday (7:30 p.m., ESPN).