No. 4 Washington finishes perfect regular season with 24-21 win over Washington State in Apple Cup

by Gabriel Martinez
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Undefeated Washington

The fourth-ranked Washington football team capped off a flawless regular season with a 24-21 triumph over Washington State in the highly anticipated Apple Cup. Grady Gross secured the victory with a clutch 42-yard field goal as time expired. Notably, Rome Odunze played a pivotal role in this victory, catching two touchdown passes from Michael Penix Jr., contributing significantly to Washington’s undefeated regular season.

In what may have been his last appearance at Husky Stadium, Odunze showcased his talent with a 40-yard touchdown reception during the second quarter. His performance reached its zenith when he hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter, giving the Huskies a 21-14 lead. Odunze’s impact extended beyond offense; in a crucial moment, he executed a 23-yard reverse play on a fourth-and-1 situation from their own 29-yard line, displaying his versatility.

The final year of the Pac-12 as we know it, before its member schools embark on new conference affiliations, witnessed Washington’s historic achievement. They became the first team in the era of the 12-team conference to complete the regular season undefeated. The last Pac-12 team to accomplish this feat was Oregon in 2010, prior to the conference’s expansion. Earlier unbeaten seasons were the domain of Southern California during its dominance in the mid-2000s.

However, the Huskies’ journey is far from over. They now face the formidable No. 6 Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, which could secure them a spot in the College Football Playoff with a victory. To achieve this, they will require a stronger performance from Penix, who had some communication issues with his receivers and made a few questionable throws against the Cougars. Penix completed 18 of 33 passes for 204 yards, falling short of making a statement in his Heisman Trophy campaign.

Nonetheless, Penix did deliver pivotal throws when needed, frequently targeting Odunze. The 40-yard touchdown came on a well-executed play-action pass, exploiting a defensive breakdown by the Cougars. His 21-yard scoring pass followed a remarkable 19-yard diving catch by Jack Westover.

On the opposing side, Washington State’s Cam Ward put up a valiant effort, passing for 317 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw three interceptions. Ward connected with Josh Kelly for a 21-yard touchdown and found Kyle Williams for a 25-yard score in the first half. His 8-yard TD pass to Lincoln Victor with 5:58 remaining in the game leveled the score at 21.

In conclusion, Washington’s remarkable undefeated regular season sets the stage for a high-stakes showdown against Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, where the outcome may determine their College Football Playoff fate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Undefeated Washington

Q: What is the significance of Washington’s win in the Apple Cup?

A: Washington’s victory in the Apple Cup is significant as it marks their perfect, undefeated regular season. They became the first team in the 12-team era of the Pac-12 to achieve this feat, making it a historic accomplishment.

Q: What’s next for Washington after winning the Apple Cup?

A: Following their win in the Apple Cup, Washington is set to face No. 6 Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. A victory in this game could potentially secure them a spot in the College Football Playoff, adding even more significance to their season.

Q: How did Rome Odunze contribute to Washington’s win?

A: Rome Odunze played a crucial role in Washington’s victory by catching two touchdown passes and making key plays. His 40-yard and 21-yard touchdown receptions were pivotal moments in the game, and he also showcased his versatility with a 23-yard reverse play on a fourth-and-1 situation.

Q: What were Michael Penix Jr.’s performance and challenges in the game?

A: Michael Penix Jr. had a mixed performance in the game. While he made some significant throws, he also faced communication issues with his receivers and made questionable throws. His performance fell short of boosting his Heisman Trophy campaign.

Q: How did Washington State’s Cam Ward perform in the Apple Cup?

A: Cam Ward of Washington State had a commendable performance, passing for 317 yards and three touchdowns. However, he also threw three interceptions, and despite his efforts, the Cougars couldn’t secure the win.

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