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Oregon's Tony Washington takes a bow while Arizona takes a touchdown

As Oregon fans try to make sense of the stunning 31-24 upset loss to Arizona that might have cost the Ducks a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, they’re going to be looking for scapegoat and that fall guy might be senior linebacker Tony Washington.

On third-and-goal, late in the game, Washington sacked Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon for a loss of nine yards and appeared to have forced the Wildcats into a field goal. However, after the play, Washington ran to midfield, stopped and bowed toward his bench.

Oregon linebacker Tony Washington gets flagged after taking a bow following a sack.
Oregon linebacker Tony Washington gets flagged after taking a bow following a sack.

Officials threw a flag almost immediately, assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a new set of downs. Arizona ultimately went on to score the game-winning touchdown.

While the Pac-12 officials made some questionable calls throughout the game, they at least were even in their poor calls. Arizona also had been assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty earlier in the game for a questionable taunt.

Regardless of whether you believe the Pac-12 officials made a poor call that late in the game, Washington should have known better. He’s a senior, this was a critical junction in the game and the officials had been spotty at best. While it seemed like an innocuous celebration — an Iowa player did the same thing last week with no penalty — it was too big of a moment to even put the officials in a position where they had to decide if a celebration penalty needed to be called.

Oregon did a lot of things poorly in this game — bad blocking, turnovers, penalties and porous defense — but this was a mistake that could have easily been avoided and it might have cost the Ducks a shot at the playoff.

For more Arizona news, visit GOAZCats.com.

For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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