Debating Dan Lanning’s 4th Down Decisions In Seattle


It was a very memorable Saturday as the Washington Huskies beat the Oregon Ducks 36-33 on a last second missed field goal. The Huskies now are in the driver’s seat to make the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas while the Ducks have a litter tougher road.

Oregon made some questionable decisions on fourth down three separate times in the game, all of which resulted in Washington getting the ball back and Oregon scoring zero points.

John Canzano was in Seattle at the game, and he understands the blame that Dan Lanning is getting.

“I don’t blame people for blaming Dan Lanning,” Canzano said Monday on 750 The Game. “I think even himself, he’s going to look back and say ‘Hey I screwed that up.’ There’s a fine line between risk taking and stupidity. Did he cross the line?”

Canzano isn’t blaming the head coach. Canzano says he saw something different when the coach decides to trust the team.

“I saw confidence in his players. I saw a guy who was out and coaching a game just like he recruits. I saw a guy who’s not afraid to go for it, and tell his players ‘Hey, I believe in you.'”

Entering the game, UW QB Michael Penix Jr  was averaging just under 400 yards passing per game. Canzano thinks that Lanning knew Washington and Penix were going to put up points. Because of that, Canzano says Lanning was trying to get as many points as possible.

“I also saw a coach who knew that sevens — meaning touchdowns — not threes — field goals — were going to be what it took to beat Michael Penix Jr. in his own stadium,” said Canzano. “I think right before halftime, as Oregon lined up and ran a play of fourth down and goal instead of taking the three points, there were people in their living rooms going ‘I love this’. Then when he didn’t get it – second guess it.”

Even with the loss Oregon is still ranked No. 9 in the nation, firmly in a spot to compete for a Pac-12 championship and even a CFP birth. Canzano says a huge takeaway from the game is that the Ducks are a good team that should still have championships on their minds.

“You’ve got to acknowledge the upside of what we saw on Saturday. While we are lamenting the loss opportunity, it was huge lost opportunity for Oregon, now way around it, these two teams are arguably the two best teams in the Pac 12. You can make the case these two teams get back to Las Vegas playing for the championship. They may play two times. They may play three times for crying out loud! If they really are as good as we think they are.”

Canzano isn’t wrong. Even with the loss, the Ducks are still one of the favorites to win the Pac-12. According to the Ducks have the second best odds to win the Pac 12 at +240 which is right behind Washington who is +125. This could be a preview of the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas on December 1st.

Listen to the full segment at the start of the podcast below. Catch the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano weekdays 3-6 p.m. in Portland exclusively on 750 The Game.