AP RECAP: On a night when neither offense could do much of anything, it was only fitting that a pass that bounced off a receiver’s hands and leg turned into the winning play.
Byron Murphy returned a deflected interception 66 yards for the game’s only touchdown to lead No. 10 Washington to a 10-3 victory over No. 17 Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night and a berth in the Rose Bowl.
“You know, life isn’t easy. A Pac-12 championship, is not going to be easy,” coach Chris Petersen said. “It’s not reality. If it happens, go buy lottery tickets because it’s not going to be like that. That’s just luck. It is a grind, it’s hard.”
The matchup between the two stingiest defenses in the conference lived up to the billing with Washington (10-3, No. 11 CFP) holding Utah (9-4, No. 17 CFP) to 188 yards and both offenses limited to just one field goal apiece all game.
That’s why it was up to the defense to come up with the score for the Huskies.
Jason Shelley’s pass hit Siaosi Mariner in the hands inside the Washington 35. But Mariner couldn’t hold onto the pass and it ricocheted off his leg and into the hands of Murphy, who raced 66 yards for the score that made it 10-3.
“The ball came up and I just knew I had to make a play,” Murphy said. “The opportunity was there. I just had to make sure I took it.”
It’s championship week in the Pac-12 as the Washington Huskies and Utah Utes meet in the Pac-12 title game on Friday night.
The Huskies are making their second title game appearance in three seasons after capturing the Pac-12 North title by beating rival Washington State in the Apple Cup last week.
The Utes won the Pac-12 South for the first time since joining the conference in 2011 and are making their first title game appearance.
The winner of Friday’s game will represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Live scoreboard and stats above. Game details and how to watch below.
What: No. 11 Washington Huskies (9-3, 7-2) vs. No. 17 Utah Utes (9-3, 6-3)
When: Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. PT
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Line: UW -5.5
Series history: Washington leads the all-time series 11-1-0. The Utes last beat the Huskies 34-23 in 2015 in Seattle.