No. 2 Washington holds off No. 3 Texas 37-31 in Sugar Bowl CFP semifinal

Michael Penix

Michael Penix Jr. threw for 430 yards and two touchdowns, Dillon Johnson had two rushing touchdowns and No. 2 Washington advanced to the College Football Playoff National Championship with a 37-31 win over No. 3 Texas on Monday night.

Penix and the Huskies (13-0, 10-0 Pac-12 Conference) avoided a collapse in the fourth quarter when Texas (12-2, 9-1 Big 12 Conference) took over with 45 seconds left in the game.

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Washington was penalized for kick catch interference, allowing the Longhorns to have possession at their 31-yard line.

Quinn Ewers found Jordan Whittington for 41 yards on 3rd and 10, and Texas was on the doorstep of the red zone with almost 20 seconds remaining.

Ewers connected with Jaydon Blue for 16 more yards near the boundary, and officials confirmed the catch.

But Texas’ magic ran out. Ewers was tackled for a loss and went 0-of-3 on his final three passes as Washington locked up the game.

Penix had 76% completion and went 29-of-38. Johnson had two scoring runs in the first half as the Huskies outgained Texas 532 yards to 498 in the game.

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Both teams entered the locker rooms at halftime tied at 21 points apiece. Texas’ CJ Baxter ran in a 3-yard touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the second quarter to tie the game.

Texas was outgained 213 yards to 305 in the first half. The Longhorns took advantage of a muffed punt and scored on a 1-yard touchdown by Byron Murphy II on the following drive to knot the game at 14 points apiece.

Penix powered Washington in the first half. He had 79% completion after the first two quarters and had 255 passing yards as well as a touchdown.

Johnson had two touchdowns on 13 carries for 30 yards in the first half. He finished with 49 rushing yards.

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Washington kicker Grady Gross made a 27-yard field goal with 2:40 left to ice the game for the moment 37-28.

Penix went 12-of-13 for 117 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter. It was an exclamation point on a performance that sealed Washington’s first trip to the CFP National Championship.

Ewers went 24-for-43 with 318 passing yards and a touchdown. Baxter had 64 rushing yards and Blue had a rushing touchdown.

Washington will go on to face No. 1 Michigan in the CFP National Championship next Monday in Houston.