No. 24 Washington rallies late, topples No. 6 Oregon 37-34

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EUGENE, Ore. — Peyton Henry kicked a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left and No. 24 Washington snapped No. 6 Oregon’s eight-game winning streak with a 37-34 victory Saturday, dealing a blow to the Ducks’ chances for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Michael Penix Jr. threw a 62-yard scoring pass to Taj Davis to tie it at 34 with 3:07 to go after Oregon quarterback Bo Nix limped off the field on the previous series.

Nix returned after Henry’s field goal and got the Ducks (9-2, 6-1, No. 6 CFP) to the Washington 38 but the final drive fizzled with a penalty. The Huskies (8-2, 5-2, No. 25 CFP) won in Eugene for the first time since 2016.

Penix threw for 408 yards and two touchdowns as Washington stopped a 13-game losing streak against ranked Oregon teams. The last win was in 2002 when the Huskies beat No. 23 Oregon 42-12. Washington was 0-7 against the Ducks when they’re ranked in the top 10.

Nix fell after a 2-yard run on third-and-5 on the Washington 10 and he limped off the field. Cameron Lewis’ 26-yard field goal finished the drive to make it 34-27 with 3:54 left. He was replaced for a series by backup Ty Thompson.

Nix threw for 280 yards and two scores, and ran for 59 yards and another touchdown. The loss snapped a 23-game home winning streak, the third-longest streak in the nation and a win shy of the school record.

Penix went into the game as the national leader in passing yards per game with 359.1. He had a streak of eight straight games with 300 or more yards passing that just ended last week in a victory over Oregon State.

The Huskies scored on their opening series when Penix handed off to Wayne Taulapapa, who dashed 13 yards down the middle for the TD.

The Ducks settled for a 43-yard field goal from Lewis on their first drive. Henry kicked a 30-yarder to make it 10-3 early in the second quarter.

Oregon got to the 1 on the ensuing drive but the snap was fumbled and Washington recovered. The Huskies did not move the ball and instead the Ducks had good field position ahead of Nix’s 10-yard TD dash, his 14th of the season, to pull Oregon within 13-10.

After Nix hit Dont’e Thornton with a 46-yard touchdown pass on Oregon’s first drive of the second half for a 17-13 lead, Cameron Davis scored on a 3-yard run to put the Huskies back on top.

Noah Whittington’s 29-yard scoring run gave Oregon a 24-20 lead midway through the third. It was a back-and-forth duel the rest of the way.

A 76-yard touchdown pass from Penix to Ja’Lynn Polk gave the Huskies a 27-24 lead in the third quarter. Nix answered with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Troy Franklin.

Jeffrey Bassa’s interception of Penix at the goal line to start the fourth quarter appeared to shift the momentum to the Ducks until Nix’s untimely injury.

THE TAKEAWAY

Washington: Washington hasn’t visited Eugene since 2018, when Oregon won 30-27 in overtime. The Huskies got a boost from the full return of linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio, who missed the first eight games of the season recovering from a knee injury. He saw a few snaps last weekend in the victory over Oregon States.

Oregon: Oregon missed out on going 7-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2019. … The loss snapped a run that saw Oregon win 16 of the last 18 over the Huskies. In addition to snapping the overall winning streak in Eugene, the loss also snapped a school record 17 straight conference games at home.

UP NEXT

Washington: The Huskies host Colorado next Saturday.

Oregon: The Ducks host No. 13 Utah next Saturday.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE – Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. said Sunday he will return to the school for his sixth and final season of eligibility in 2023.

Penix announced his decision on social media and it was a surprising one at that. Penix was the national leader in passing this season, throwing for 4,354 yards and led Washington’s turnaround. The No. 12-ranked Huskies went 10-2 in the regular season, finished tied for second in the Pac-12 and will face No. 21 Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Penix will have a chance at setting Washington’s single-season record for yards passing in the bowl game. He also threw 29 touchdowns this season. Because of his performance this season, Penix saw his NFL draft stock rise to where he was being expected to be a second-day pick at the latest.

In his announcement, Penix wrote, “As I look back on this special season we had, I realized there were so many great moments and things to celebrate, but I KNOW there is so much for out there for this team and the job is still not finished. I can’t wait to be playing in Husky Stadium for the 2023 season!”

Penix started his career at Indiana and showed flashes of stardom while also battling injuries. He transferred to Washington after the 2021 season, a move that reunited him with new Huskies’ coach Kalen DeBoer, who was Penix’s offensive coordinator for one season at Indiana.

North Texas fires Littrell after .500 record over 7 years

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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DENTON, Texas – Bowl-bound North Texas has fired coach Seth Littrell, who went 44-44 over seven seasons.

University president Neal Smatresk said Sunday night that the decision to make the move came after a thorough assessment of the program.

The Mean Green are 7-6 this season after losing 48-27 to UTSA in the Conference USA championship game Friday night.

Phil Bennett, their defensive coordinator the past two seasons, was named interim head coach. North Texas plays Boise State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 17.

The 44-year-old Littrell had one year left on his contract in what was his first head coaching job. He was the youngest coach in Conference USA and one of the youngest at the FBS level when he arrived after two seasons as offensive coordinator at North Carolina with UNT coming off a 1-11 season at the time.

While the Mean Green are going to their sixth bowl since Littrell first got there, they haven’t won any of those yet. The bowl in his debut season came after only five wins since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of the slots. Consecutive nine-win seasons followed in 2017 and 2018, but they then had three consecutive losing records before this year.

North Texas also has an interim athletic director after Wren Baker was named as West Virginia’s AD last week.

Smatresk said Jared Mosley, the chief operating officer of UNT athletics, will serve as interim AD. The university is working with a search firm to find Baker’s successor.