Oregon gets costly celebration penalty after Tony Washington bows (Video)
For the second year in a row, a loss to Arizona hurt Oregon’s national championship hopes. This time a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on the Ducks late in the game was one of the turning points.
Oregon and Arizona were tied at 24 with just over four minutes left in the game when the Wildcats had a 3rd-and-goal from the 8. Tony Washington chased down and sacked Anu Solomon for a huge loss that would have pushed Arizona back for a 4th-and-goal from around the 17.
Instead, Washington was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after running downfield and doing a bow. Yes, really.
Rather than attempting a field goal, Arizona ran it in for a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal and went ahead 31-24, which was the final score.
Marcus Mariota was strip-sacked on the ensuing possession, allowing Arizona to run out the clock for the win, but there’s little doubt that penalty was a game-changer.
Don’t blame the refs for Oregon’s loss; the Ducks played poorly all game. But that was a pretty ridiculous call to make at such a critical point in the game.