No. 3 Washington tops No. 5 Oregon again, seals CFP bid
Michael Penix Jr. passed for 319 yards and Dillon Johnson accounted for three touchdowns as No. 3 Washington secured a place in the College Football Playoff with a 34-31 victory over No. 5 Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday in Las Vegas.
Washington (13-0) won a wild game that wasn't decided until Johnson ran 18 yards for a first down in the final minute.
"It means a lot," Washington coach Kalen DeBoer said of winning what is likely the last Pac-12 title since 10 of the league's 12 teams will be playing in different conferences next season. "For us to do it how we did it against a great football team ... we knew it would take everything we had. We couldn't be happier. I'm just so proud of these guys and excited about what's to come."
The Huskies went up 34-24 with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Moore with 2:44 left, but Oregon (11-2) responded in just two plays and 30 seconds. Bo Nix hit Traeshon Holden on a deep crossing pattern, and Holden battled his way into the end zone, tight-roping the sideline near the goal line for a 63-yard touchdown.
The ensuing onside kick bounced out of bounds, giving Washington the ball at its 45-yard line. The Huskies made two first downs to run out the clock in a dream rematch of a regular-season meeting won 36-33 by the Huskies in Seattle on Oct. 14.
Johnson finished with 152 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, and he also threw a TD pass in the first half.
"I'll do whatever it takes for this team," Johnson said. "We were the more physical team."
Penix made a final case for the Heisman Trophy, completing 27 of 39 passes with one touchdown and one interception, earning game MVP honors in a contest full of big momentum shifts. Washington was up 20-3 late in the first half before Oregon responded with 21 consecutive points to take the lead with 1:51 to go in the third quarter.
Washington answered with Johnson's 1-yard touchdown run with 12:23 remaining.
Penix outdueled Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, who entered the game as the Heisman betting favorite. Nix completed 21 of 34 passes for 239 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Washington's Jalen McMillan caught nine passes for 131 yards. Teammate Rome Odunze had 102 yards on eight receptions.
Oregon, which trailed 20-10 at halftime, climbed right back into the game on the first possession of the second half, aided by two gutsy fourth-down decisions.
The Ducks converted fourth-and-5 at their 47 and then went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2, where Nix found Terrance Ferguson over the middle for a touchdown.
After an exchange of interceptions, Oregon took the lead on Jordan James' 6-yard TD run late in the third quarter.
--Field Level Media
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