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  • Writer's pictureMark Schlabach

Washington Upsets Texas in Allstate Sugar Bowl with Dramatic 37-31 Victory, Michael Penix Jr. Shines

Texas didn't lead during its 37-31 loss to Washington on Monday night at the Allstate Sugar Bowl. But in an exciting ending, they had four chances to make a comeback that would have been called best of all time.

This was until the very last second, when Quinn Ewers' throw to Adonai Mitchell dropped onto the ground as time ran out in the end zone.

After Jordan Whittington got a 41-yard pass on third down with only 20 seconds left, Texas suddenly had the opportunity to finish like in a fairy tale.

"We felt like magic, the whole time we thought it was already planned," Whittington said. "No matter what happened, I didn't think it would come down to the last 10 seconds. But we never stopped together."

The Texas Longhorns had a rough night trying to stop Washington QB Michael Penix Jr., who threw for 430 yards, scored two touchdowns through passing and made another three rushes adding on 31 extra yards.

"He had a good day," said defensive back Jahdae Barron. "When our defensive line made him leave the box and even ran a bit, that was good for him. ... Good job to Penix."

Texas trailed 34-21 with 14:51 were left in the game, but it seemed like they might lose. The Horns had 10 penalties, just like they did before. They think most of their problems were caused by themself.

"We all went out there as a team and we fought our butt off," said Mitchell, who had a soaring touchdown catch on a 1-yard fade to begin the comeback with 7: 23 left. "We just played against a strong team. We didn't use all our chances like we wanted to. There were many errors during the game."

The Huskies stopped Mitchell and Xavier Worthy, the Longhorns' two best players who catch balls. Xavier got 45 yards with his catches while Mitchell had four passes for just 32 yards. Ewers could only complete 43.5% of his passes to the wide receivers, as per ESPN Stats & Information research data. But Penix did much better with a completion rate of 90.5%. Plus Rome Odunze and Ja'Lynn Polk collected around 247 yards on just eleven catches together between them for successive

The Huskies made nine passes that were 15 or more yards long. They included a 77-yarder to Polk and some others of 32 and 52 yards which went to Odunze.

Even when the pass rush and coverage were okay, the Huskies didn't get stressed. This was like Penix throwing a 29-yard touchdown to Polk just before halftime. Penix threw the ball while Malik Muhammad stretched out his arms. Polk took a dive and caught it before landing on the ground as Mohammed could just watch helplessly from below.

"Give credit to Washington, they played really well," said Texas coach Steve Sarkisian. "Penix got hot. They did some major actions in the field. When they increased the lead, we changed a bit from our game plan to try and catch up. But we figured out how to get two stops and make them try some field goals, which helped us have a chance to catch up in the game.

Ewers still ended with 318 yards. This was his sixth game of at least 300-yards this season and the most by a Texas quarterback since Colt McCoy in 2008.

Whittington, the senior who had a snakebitten career at Texas with three season-ending injuries, still did great one final time by making a 41-yard catch. It seemed like Texas might have a chance for one more win on its revenge journey, after beating every team that beat the Longhorns last year. The Huskies' win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl last year was their final big achievement.

Whittington said, "I was sure we were going to win." "But you know, sometimes things don't favor you."

But Ewers' throw to Mitchell didn't get caught, blocked by Huskies cornerback Elijah Jackson ending the last Big 12 season for Longhorns. It was their first conference title since 2009 and they went 12-2 with them making it into College Football Playoff for the very first time.

Jake Majors, an offensive lineman said "I enjoyed every second of it." "Except that last second."

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