In the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, the third-ranked Longhorns lost to the second-ranked Washington Huskies, 37-31, after a fourth-down pass into the end zone was deflected.
With 2:34 left in the fourth quarter, quarterback Quinn Ewers and the Longhorns were down 37-28 after Grady Gross' 27-yard field goal. After an 8-yard rush and a 10-yard holding penalty against the Husky defense, Ewers led four straight plays for a first down as Texas entered the red zone.
After the drive stalled three plays later, junior kicker Bert Auburn completed a 25-yard field goal with 1:09 remaining on the clock for his 29th field goal of the season, tying him with Texas A&M's Randy Bullock (2011) for the Big 12 Conference's second most.
Texas, led by linebacker Jaylen Ford, who finished with a game-high 10 tackles, and Byron Murphy II, who became the first defensive lineman in bowl history to score a rushing touchdown on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter, forced Washington to punt for a third time.
Jordan Whittington caught Jack McCallister's 28-yard punt deep. Texas' starting field possession moved from the 16-yard line to the Longhorn 31 after Whittington was interfered with.
In front of 68,791 fans at the Caesars Superdome, Texas' offense trotted back out onto the field with no timeouts and 71 yards to play in their first national championship game since 2009.
Ewers and Whittington connected on a 41-yard third-down pass to move the offense down to the Washington 28-yard line after back-to-back incompletions for Ja'Tavion Sanders, who passed David Thomas (2002-05) for the most tight end receptions in program history on Monday night.
Ewers found Jaydon Blue, who scored Texas' first touchdown with a 5-yard run midway through the first quarter, along the right sideline for a 16-yard connection with 20 seconds left.
After a Washington timeout with 15 seconds left, Blue caught another Ewers throw for a 1-yard loss but got out of bounds to stop the clock. Next, Ewers passed to Adonai Mitchell, who had caught a 1-yard pass from him seven minutes earlier in the quarter in the end zone. But it floated harmlessly out of bounds.
Ewers, who had his sixth 300-yard passing game (318) of the season, tried a throw to Blue on the right sideline with five seconds left. Mishael Powell's defense forced Southlake's early throw.
Mitchell, a 6-foot-4 Missouri City, Texas receiver, was set up to the right of the formation across from Washington safety Makell Esteen. Ewers glanced at him again. On a jump-ball toss to Mitchell in the back-right corner of the end zone, Esteen deflected it away, ending one of Texas' finest football seasons.