On the Pac-12 Title, the Playoffs, and Jake Browning

On the Pac-12 Title, the Playoffs, and Jake Browning

The Washington Huskies set out to make a statement on Friday night against the Colorado Buffaloes, and they did just that en route to a dominant 41-10 win to claim the Pac-12 Championship.

A victory by Washington virtually clinches a berth in the College Football Playoff, while a victory by Colorado creates a mess for the NCAA, opening a door for MI, the Big Ten Championship Game victor or maybe even Colorado if it somehow fares better than a Rose Bowl in its dream season. The victory also helped the Huskies to make them eligible for College Football Playoff.

UW coach Chris Petersen said after the game that Mathis probably would not be able to return in time for a bowl game, something Mathis was hoping would be possible.

"We didn't play this game for the playoff committee", receiver John Ross said. Both these teams defeated OR at some point during the 2016 season, in the two seasons since the Ducks last played for the PAC-12 title they've seen two rivals in this game. Between them and a league title stands the Colorado Buffaloes, whose 10-2 campaign has been arguably the biggest surprise in this year's college football season. Washington's two-pronged attack of Lavon Coleman and Myles Gaskin gained just 17 total yards on the ground, a statistic slightly skewed by the Trojans' sacks of Huskies quarterback Jake Browning.

Gaskin led the way with 159 yards on 29 carries, but it was Coleman, who put up 101 yards on 18 attempts, who opened up the scoring for UW with a one-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game. He returned to start the second half and threw three interceptions, including one on the first play from scrimmage that Rapp returned 35 yards for a score. For Colorado, a win doesn't figure to boost the Buffaloes into the top four in the CFP, but it would mean a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Huskies finished with 30 takeaways, which is the most among all FBS defenses, with the secondary of Budda Baker, Kevin King, Sidney Jones and Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Taylor Rapp combining for nine of those takeaways. From there, the Sooners or Cowboys would need upsets in the ACC and Pac-12 and then probably hope for an ugly Big Ten game that make a two-loss Big 12 champion better looking than a two-loss Big Ten victor.

On the Pac-12 Title, the Playoffs, and Jake Browning
On the Pac-12 Title, the Playoffs, and Jake Browning

Rapp added his second interception on Colorado's next possession. Butch Hampton kicked five field goals.

Colorado: From the opening kickoff that went out of bounds, little went right for the Buffaloes, who were unable to cap an impressive turnaround season with a conference title. Though it edged USC for the Pac-12 South title, the Buffs lost to USC in their head-to-head matchup.

The Huskies, for the first time in 16 years, are back on top of the Pac-12 Conference. "When he's in his season we talk, but we don't talk about those kinds of things during the season", George said.

USC (9-3), ranked No. 11 in last week's rankings, needs to move three spots to leap No. 8 Colorado (10-3).

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