No. 2 Washington defeated No. 3 Texas 37-31 to go to the national title game against No. 1 Michigan on Jan. 8.
After a 21-21 halftime deadlock, the Huskies (14-0) defeated the Longhorns 16-10 in the second half. Grady Gross' third field goal of the game with 2:44 left gave the Huskies a 37-28 advantage.
But then things got intriguing. Texas scored a field goal with over a minute left to trim Washington's advantage to six, but the Huskies recovered the onside kick. Texas took two timeouts and running back Dillon Johnson injured his foot on third down, so Washington didn't get much time.
The time halted following Johnson's injury, giving Texas one last shot with 45 seconds to grab the ball back. The Longhorns reached the Washington 12-yard line, but Quinn Ewers' end-zone pass to AD Mitchell dropped incomplete as time expired.
Texas (12-2) was unable to stop Washington QB Michael Penix Jr., who produced a College Football Playoff-best throwing effort. Penix completed 29-of-38 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns, shooting lasers everywhere. Washington's deep passing game showed up on Monday night; Penix connected Ja'Lynn Polk for a 77-yard reception to set up the Huskies' opening TD.
A Texas turnover allowed Washington to score 10 straight points in the third quarter after becoming knotted at halftime. A 19-yard TD throw from Penix to Jalen McMillan on Washington's first possession of the half was followed by a field goal less than three minutes later after Texas RB CJ Baxter fumbled.
Washington has won 10 straight games by 10 or fewer points since beating Cal 59-32 on Sept. 23. The Huskies have flourished in close games all season, especially late. After a 10-point win against USC, Washington defeated Utah by seven, Oregon State by two, Washington State by three on a walk-off field goal, and Oregon by three in the Pac-12 title game before Monday night's scare
Washington's plan after recovering the onside kick was straightforward. Washington could not kneel three times to close the game because Texas had two timeouts. The Huskies needed a first down.