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Fiesta Bowl: Penn State holds off Washington

By Jack Magruder, The Sports Xchange
Fiesta Bowl: Penn State holds off Washington
Penn State's Marcus Allen (L) and Trace McSorley hold up the Fiesta Bowl Trophy after defeating the Washington Huskies' 35-28 on Saturday. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Penn State halfback Saquon Barkley had 137 yards rushing, including a Fiesta Bowl-record 92-yard touchdown run, and the No. 9 Nittany Lions continued their mastery in the desert with 35-28 victory over the No. 11 Washington Huskies at University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday.

Quarterback Trace McSorley completed 32 of 41 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns, and Barkley had two touchdown runs as the Nittany Lions (11-2) remained perfect in seven Fiesta Bowl appearances.

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McSorley also rushed for 58 yards.

Washington halfback Myles Gaskin rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, and his 69-yard run with 6:52 remaining brought the Huskies within seven at 35-28.

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The Nittany Lions, who had a bowl record 545 yards total offense, ate up more than six minutes on the clock before Tyler Davis' 45-yard field goal attempt was wide.

But Washington's last-ditch hook-and-ladder play ended with an interception.

Washington (10-3) had not allowed a pass play longer than 40 yards or a rush longer than 35 yards all season, but Penn State surpassed both by early in the second quarter.

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McSorley completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton for a 7-0 lead on the first possession of the game, and Barkley's 92-yard score gave the Nittany Lions a 28-7 lead 18 minutes in.

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Hamilton had four receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington quarterback Jake Browning completed 18 of 28 passes for 175 yards, and his 28-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Fuller on the first drive of the second half after the Huskies went to a no-huddle offense made the score 28-21.

McSorley's 24-yard scoring pass to Hamilton pushed the Nittany Lions' lead to two touchdowns again, 35-21.

Penn State's 545 yards were most Washington gave up this season, and the Huskies had not given up more than 30 points in a span of 26 games, since the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Washington had 331 yards, staying in the game only because the Nittany Lions committed three turnovers.

Penn State scored touchdowns on four of its first five drives to take control.

After McSorley's first touchdown pass to Hamilton, Barkley scored on a 2-yard run for a 14-0 lead with 1:42 left in the first quarter.

Washington used a trick play for its first down when wide receiver Andre Baccellia took a lateral from Browning and completed a 52-pass to tight end Will Dissly to put the ball on the Penn State 12. Browning scored on a sneak two plays later.

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Miles Sanders countered with 1-yard touchdown run before Barkley broke his 92-yarder for a 28-7 lead after Washington's pooch punt pinned the Nittany Lions deep.

Gaskin took a direct snap and scored on a 13-yard run to make it 28-14 with 4:15 left in the half after the Huskies recovered a fumble at the Penn State 33.

NOTES: Penn State played one of the most remarkable Fiesta Bowls in history in a 14-10 victory over No. 1 Miami, Fla., to conclude the 1986 season and win the most recent of its two consensus national championships. ... Washington's first trip to the Fiesta Bowl marks its eighth bowl destination in the last eight seasons. ... The Pac-12 is 1-8 in bowl games this season. Utah, the only winner, was invited to the Heart of Dallas Bowl as a replacement because Conference USA did not have enough bowl qualifiers.

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