No. 5 Washington stays undefeated with dramatic 22-20 victory over No. 11 Oregon State

washington win over oregon state
Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze (1) celebrates his touchdown catch with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (left) against Oregon State on November 18, 2023 in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

For one more week, the Washington machine will keep running.

The No. 5 Washington overcame No. 11 Oregon State 22–20 in a hard-fought game on Saturday in Corvallis to maintain their perfect record, secure a trip to the Pac-12 championship game, and maintain their strong position in the College Football Playoff race.

And even though they were shut out in the second half, the Huskies increased to 11-0.

A rainy night at Reser Stadium saw Washington lead 22-10 at halftime after two touchdown passes from Michael Penix Jr. to Rome Odunze. However, the second half saw only three first downs for the team.

That was sufficient. It was the Penix-to-Odunze connection that eventually sealed the victory with the third of three first-down conversions.

Throughout the second half, Oregon State dominated play and relied on the ground attack to reduce Washington’s lead. In the closing minutes of the third quarter, Damien Martinez scored a touchdown run, bringing the score to 22-17. With 10:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Beavers extended their advantage to 22-20 after scoring a field goal.

After that, the OSU defense swiftly forced a punt, giving DJ Uiagalelei and the offense another opportunity to grab the lead. The drive eventually came to a stop close to midfield, having begun at Oregon State’s own 5-yard line.

With 2:08 remaining, the Beavers turned the ball over on downs, setting up a third-and-3 play for UW from the Oregon State 40. The quarterback, a Heisman Trophy finalist, was given the ball by Washington coach Kalen DeBoer with his favorite receiver in mind, rather than running the ball to try to pick up a first down and run down the clock. They succeeded.

Penix hit Odunze with an exquisite pass over his back shoulder for a 19-yard gain and the game-winning first down.

Penix didn’t have his best statistical game of the season, but he made the right plays when it mattered most. He added a touchdown on the ground in addition to throwing for 162 yards and two scores.

Penix scored all of his touchdowns in the first half, which gave Washington a bigger advantage. However, Oregon State also made a costly error on special teams.

The Beavers’ long snapper appeared to be impacted by the rain during the first half, as he successfully snapped over his punter’s head and into the end zone for safety.

It turned out that those two things made a difference.

What does Washington’s victory mean?

Washington defeated a team that was ranked No. 11 in the nation on the road, making it three straight wins over teams with rankings. As the regular season draws to an end, the Huskies have a solid resume thanks to their victory over No. 8 Oregon back on October 14.

Next week, the Huskies will play their Apple Cup foe Washington State at home to end the regular season. After a six-game losing streak, WSU defeated Colorado handily on Friday night. With a victory against their fiercest opponent, the Cougars may secure bowl eligibility and possibly ruin UW’s chances of winning the national championship.

To put it plainly, Washington must continue to win in order to qualify for the four-team playoffs. The most likely scenario is a Pac-12 title game rematch with Oregon, but Oregon State’s showdown between the Ducks and Beavers in Eugene next week may be exciting.

Arizona is still in the running for the Pac-12 championship, but Saturday night’s setback took Oregon State out of the running.

Credits: Yahoo Sports

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