College Football Playoff: Washington holds off Texas in wild finish to advance to national title game

Washington will face Michigan for the championship next week

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 01: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies throws a pass during the first quarter against the Texas Longhorns during the CFP Semifinal Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome on January 01, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Michael Penix Jr. was surgical as he led Washington to a heart-stopping Sugar Bowl win over Texas and a trip to the national title game.

The QB completed 29-of-38 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a 37-31 victory in the College Football Playoff semifinal on Monday in New Orleans.

Texas had a shot at a winning touchdown in the closing seconds but a pass from the 12-yard line fell incomplete as time ran out and the Huskies hung on in a surprisingly nervous finish.

The Longhorns (12-2) simply had no answer for Penix, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, and a late surge came up just short. UW never trailed in the game and while it was a back-and-forth contest in the first half, the Huskies took control by scoring 13 straight points to start the second half to take a 34-21 lead.

Texas almost made a miraculous comeback in the last few minutes but couldn't get it done.

Washington (14-0) keeps its dream undefeated season going as it will face Michigan next week for the national championship in Houston. Michigan reached the title game by beating Alabama 27-20 in overtime in the Rose Bowl earlier in the day.

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  • Injured Huskies RB Dillon Johnson enjoying the moment:

  • The final play:

  • Two incredible finishes in the CFP semifinals today.

    It'll be Washington vs. Michigan for the national title next Monday in Houston.


    What a finish!

  • It's 4th down at the 12. ONE (1) second to play. Here we go...

  • Play stands. First down Texas at the 12.

  • Pass complete down the sideline to Jaydon Blue at the 12-yard line.

    Ruled a catch on the field. Under review.

  • 20 seconds to play. Texas needs to go 28 yards. WOW

  • Ewers to Jordan Whittington for a big play downfield! Ball at the Washington 28!

  • Texas has the ball at its own 31 to start the drive. Under 40 seconds left. No timeouts. They need a TD.

  • Washington RB Dillon Johnson was the injured player:

  • Well ... this isn't over yet. Washington punts it away after Texas uses its last two timeouts and a UW injury caused the clock to stop after a 3rd down run.

  • Washington secures the onside kick and it's all over but the crime!

    UW will advance to its first CFP title game in school history as the dream season continues!

  • Texas drives it inside the 10 but settles for a short field goal.

    It's 37-31 Huskies with 1:09 to play. Onside kick coming.

  • Grady Gross nails a 27-yard field goal and the Huskies make it a two-score game with 2:40 to play!

    Washington is up 37-28 and can taste it.

  • Washington quickly marches it down field and it's first and goal for UW with under 4 minutes to play.

    This offense move FAST

  • AD Mitchell jumped too early ... made the grab anyway.

  • Texas touchdown! Quinn Ewers to AD Mitchell in the corner of the end zone! It's a one-score game.

    Washington 34, Texas 28. 7:23 to play

  • Ewers dropped a dime to Xavier Worthy for 38 yards down field. Texas is in the red zone.

  • No damage done after the Texas fumble but time is starting to run out for the Longhorns.

    Can they mount a 4th quarter comeback?

  • It looks like we'll have another Texas turnover here! Longhorns WR RB Jaydon Blue appeared to lose the ball at the end of a big catch and run.

  • Texas QB Quinn Ewers took a big hit on the previous drive and was being looked at by trainers.

    He remains in the game though. Arch Manning remains on the sideline

  • Another Grady Gross field goal extends the Washington lead.

    UW 34, Texas 21

  • End of 3rd quarter: Washington leads 31-21 and is driving again.

    Huskies getting close to putting this thing away.

  • Washington settles for a short field goal.

    It's a 31-21 Huskies lead.

  • CJ Baxter fumbled it for Texas. Bralen Trice forced it for Washington.

    And UW is in business again, looking to take a two-score lead.

  • Texas starts its drive with a FUMBLE and Washington takes over at the Texas 33-yard line!

  • Michael Penix tosses a laser of a 19-yard TD pass to Jalen McMillan! Huskies lead AGAIN!

    Washington 28, Texas 21

  • We are back in action for the 2nd half of the Sugar Bowl. Washington gets the ball to start us off.

  • It's halftime. It's a tie game in New Orleans. Do we have another classic finish coming up?

  • All tied up after this play:

  • Touchdown Texas! CJ Baxter with a 3-yard run to the end zone!

    It's all knotted up 21-21 with 17 seconds to play in the half.

  • Texas is trying to tie it up before the half as Quinn Ewers scrambles for a big run inside the 10.

    A late hit by UW gets the Longhorns inside the 5. 20 seconds to play in the half.

  • What a pass by Penix, what a grab by Polk:

  • Whoa! Ja'Lynn Polk tipped a pass to himself for a Washington touchdown!

    Huskies lead again, 21-14.

  • Washington goes for it on 4th-and-1 from its own 33, and this time it converts. Gutsy call by the Huskies.

  • Huskies can't take advantage of the big pass as they're stuffed on 4th and 1!

    Texas ball.

  • Michael Penix completes another DEEP SHOT, this time to Rome Odunze for 52 yards!

    UW's deep passing game is on fire so far.

  • Texas cashes in on the turnover! Defensive lineman Byron Murphy II scores a BIG MAN TD from 1 yard out!

    All tied up 14-14

  • Oh boy, Washington muffs a punt return and Texas takes over at the UW 22. Huge break for the Longhorns.