No. 4 Washington defeats No. 8 Colorado for Pac-12 title

By Jake Curtis, The Sports Xchange
Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Browning (3). Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI
1 of 3 | Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Browning (3). Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Washington quarterback Jake Browning probably lost his chance to win the Heisman Trophy, but his fourth-ranked Huskies likely earned a berth in the College Football Playoff with their 41-10 victory over No. 8 Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night at Levi's Stadium.

Washington (12-1) won its first conference title since 2000 and will find out Sunday whether it is one of the four teams selected to participate in the playoff for the national championship. The Huskies will be terribly upset if they are not one of those four teams.


Colorado (10-3) is most likely headed to the Alamo Bowl.

Browning had his worst game of the season, completing 9 of 24 passes for 118 yards. He did have two touchdown passes, the second being a product of John Ross' acrobatic catch and run. That gave Browning 42 touchdown passes for the season, one shy of the Pac-12 record.


Two Washington players rushed for more than 100 yards. Myles Gaskin gained 159 yards on 29 carries, and Lavon Coleman picked up 101 yards on 18 attempts.

Two interceptions by Washington defensive back Taylor Rapp early in the second half helped to break the game open, as they led to scores that expanded the Huskies' 14-7 halftime lead to 24-7.

Colorado starting quarterback Sefo Liufau had a miserable game. He was 3 of 13 for 21 yards and three interceptions, and quarterback Steven Montez, who played most of the first half for the Buffaloes, was 5 of 12 for 60 yards. Phillip Lindsay was limited to 53 rushing yards on 19 carries.

Liufau left the game with a left leg injury with 9:50 remaining in the first quarter. He sat out the rest of the first half, but returned to start the third quarter. Liufau's first pass of the second half was intercepted by Rapp, who grabbed a deflected pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown that gave the Huskies a 21-7 lead 16 seconds into the third quarter.

Liufau's second pass of the third quarter was also intercepted by Rapp, giving Washington possession at Colorado 25-yard line. The Huskies turned that into a 24-yard Cameron Van Winkle field goal that put Washington ahead 24-7.


John Ross later made a remarkable, leaping, one-handed catch of a Browning pass, then eluded several defenders for a 19-yard touchdown reception that put Washington ahead 31-7.

Browning completed just 4 of 12 passes for 38 yards in the first half, but he had a touchdown pass that gave the Huskies a 14-7 lead at halftime.

Washington scored a touchdown on its first possession, marching 65 yards in seven plays. Lavon Coleman, who picked up 38 yards rushing on the drive, scored on a 2-yard run to make it 7-0.

Liufau was hurt when he was sacked by Washington's Psalm Wooching with 9:50 remaining in the first quarter. Liufau was replaced by Montez, who started three games this season, winning two of them and losing to USC. Montez was 5 of 12 for 60 yards in the first half.

Montez led Colorado to a tying touchdown late in the opening quarter. He completed passes of 12 and 20 yards before Phillip Lindsay scored on a 3-yard run to make it a 7-7 game.

An apparent interception by Washington's Budda Baker at the Colorado 13 was overturned after a review determined that Baker came down out of bounds.


But Washington scored on its ensuing possession. Browning finished the 56-yard drive by throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darrell Daniels to give the Huskies a 14-7 lead.

NOTES: Washington QB Jake Browner needed a strong showing Friday to improve his chance of becoming a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Deadline for voting is Monday, which is when the finalists will be announced. Browner entered Friday's game with 40 touchdown passes this season, three shy of the Pac-12 record. The only two ahead of him (Jared Goff and Marcus Mariota) were NFL starters this past weekend. ... Colorado head coach Mike McIntyre was named Pac-12 coach of the year and Walter Camp national coach of the year. ... Colorado entered this weekend ranked fourth nationally in pass-efficiency defense. ... Washington had nine players named to the all-Pac-12 first team, and Colorado had just two, one of whom was chosen for a special teams position that was neither a kicker nor a returner.

Latest Headlines