EditorsNote: Edit 1: Words deleted in grafs 7 and 9.
Byron Murphy intercepted two passes, returning one 66 yards for a touchdown, and broke up a fourth-down play in the final minute as No. 11 Washington defeated No. 17 Utah 10-3 in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Huskies (10-3) won their second conference title in three seasons and earned a berth in the Rose Bowl against the Big Ten champion, either No. 6 Ohio State or No. 21 Northwestern. Utah (9-4) will learn its bowl fate Sunday.
Washington running back Myles Gaskin was limited to 71 yards on 23 carries and Jake Browning completed 21 of 33 passes for only 187 yards and an interception.
Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven made 10 tackles as the Huskies’ defense limited Utah to 188 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers.
Utah’s Armand Shyne gained just 37 yards rushing on 11 attempts and Jason Shelley was 17-of-27 passing for 137 yards and three interceptions.
The Huskies got the game’s biggest break late in the third quarter. The Utes had just passed midfield when Shelley attempted to hit receiver Siaosi Mariner on an out route. Mariner bobbled the ball and it bounced high in the air off his right knee as he fell to the turf. Murphy grabbed the ball and returned it 66 yards for the game’s lone touchdown with 1:05 left in the third quarter. That gave the Huskies a 10-3 lead.
The Utes tied the score at 3-3 on their opening drive of the second half, with Matt Gay kicking a 53-yard field goal.
Washington led 3-0 at halftime on a 29-yard field goal by Peyton Henry with 3:08 left in the second quarter.
The Huskies had a 26-3 edge in plays in the opponents’ territory in the first half, yet could not reach the end zone.
Washington reached the Utes’ 23-yard line on its first possession before deciding to go on fourth-and-6 instead of attempt a field goal. Browning’s pass for Aaron Fuller was broken up by Utah’s Jaylon Johnson.
In the second quarter, the Huskies had a third-and-3 from the Utes’ 26. Browning’s pass went in and out of the hands of wide receiver Ty Jones at the 20 as he attempted to move through two defenders. The ball bounced in the air and off Jones’ foot before defensive back Javelin K. Guidry intercepted it.
The Utes did not cross midfield until the final 1:15 of the second quarter, but Shelley was sacked by Taylor Rapp on the last play of the half.
—Field Level Media