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Washington finishes perfect regular season with 24-21 win over Washington State in Apple Cup

Huskies will face Oregon in the Pac-12 championship

Washington cornerback Thaddeus Dixon
Washington cornerback Thaddeus Dixon (AP)

SEATTLE (AP) — Grady Gross made a 42-yard field goal on the final play, Rome Odunze caught two touchdown passes from Michael Penix Jr. and No. 4 Washington beat Washington State 24-21 on Saturday in the Apple Cup for an undefeated regular season.

Playing likely his final game at Husky Stadium, Odunze caught a 40-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and hauled in a 21-yarder on the final play of the third quarter to give the Huskies a 21-14 lead.

Odunze then added his biggest running play of the year. Facing fouth-and-1 at their own 29 with 1:11 left, he took a reverse 23 yards. Odunze later played defender breaking up a potential interception at the goal line and Gross nailed the winner.

In the final year of the Pac-12 before most of its members scatter to other conferences, Washington (12-0, 9-0) became the first school in the 12-team era to go unbeaten in the regular season. The last conference team to finish the regular season unbeaten was Oregon in 2010 before the conference expanded to 12 teams. Prior to that, the last unbeaten seasons belonged to Southern California during its run atop the conference in the mid-2000s.

The Huskies still have one more challenge ahead, facing No. 6 Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game Friday in Las Vegas with a victory likely putting Washington into the College Football Playoff.

They’ll need Penix to be better than he was against the Cougars (5-7, 2-7) . Penix had several miscommunications with his pass catchers and the final drive had a few questionable throws. He finished 18 of 33 for 204 yards, not exactly the closing statement that could have boosted his Heisman Trophy campaign.

But he made a handful of big throws and often looked Odunze’s way when they were needed. Odunze’s 40-yard TD came on a play-action pass and a blown coverage by the Cougars. His 21-yard score came one play after Jack Westover made a diving grab for 19 yards.

Washington State quarterback Cam Ward threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, but also had three interceptions. Ward threw touchdowns of 21 yards to Josh Kelly and 25 yards to Kyle Williams in the first half, and his 8-yard TD pass to Lincoln Victor with 5:58 left pulled the Cougars even at 21.

But Washington State couldn’t take advantage of holding the Huskies to a three-and-out on Washington’s ensuing possession. Ward was incomplete on third down from his own 47 and the Cougars punted back to Washington with 1:59 remaining.


The Cougars needed a win to reach bowl eligibility after snapping a six-game losing streak last week against Colorado. Victor had 11 catches for 88 yards and Kelly finished with eight receptions for 106 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

Washington State: The defense deserves a lot of credit and recognition for the job in slowing down Washington’s offense. The Huskies finished 306 total yards and Penix was sacked twice.

Washington: Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb wasn’t happy with the performance last week against Oregon State and will be equally irritated with the mistakes made versus the Cougars. They must be better next week against Oregon.

UP NEXT

Washington State: Season likely complete.

Washington: Will face Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game Friday in Las Vegas.

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