In the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, the third-ranked Longhorns lost to the second-ranked Washington Huskies, 37-31, after a fourth-down pass into the end zone was deflected.
After Grady Gross' 27-yard field goal, quarterback Quinn Ewers and the Longhorns set up shop at their 25-yard line with 2:34 left in the fourth quarter, down 37-28. After an 8-yard scramble and a 10-yard holding penalty against the Husky defence, Ewers led four straight plays that produced a first down and advanced Texas into the red zone.
After the drive stalled three plays later, junior kicker Bert Auburn converted a 25-yard field goal with 1:09 left on the clock for his 29th field goal of the season, tying him with Texas A&M's Randy Bullock (2011) for the Big 12 Conference second most.
The Longhorns (12-2) were unable to recover an onside kick opportunity, but the Texas defence, led by linebacker Jaylen Ford, who finished with a game-high 10 tackles, and Byron Murphy II, who became the first defensive lineman in bowl history to score a rushing touchdown on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter, forced Washington to punt for a third time.
Jordan Whittington caught Jack McCallister's 28-yard punt deep. Texas' starting field possession moved from the 16-yard line to the Longhorn 31 after Whittington was interfered with. In front of 68,791 fans at the Caesars Superdome, Texas' offence trotted back out onto the field with no timeouts and 71 yards to play in its first national championship game since 2009.
Ewers and Whittington connected on a 41-yard third-down pass to move the offence down to the Washington 28-yard line after back-to-back incompletions for JaTavion Sanders, who passed David Thomas (2002-05) for the most tight end receptions in program history on Monday night.
Ewers found Jaydon Blue, who scored Texas' first touchdown with a 5-yard run midway through the first quarter, along the right sideline for a 16-yard connection with 20 seconds left. After a Washington timeout with 15 seconds left, Blue caught another Ewers pass for a 1-yard loss but got out of bounds to stop the clock.
Next, Ewers threw to Adonai Mitchell, who had caught a 1-yard pass from him seven minutes earlier in the quarter in the end zone. But it sailed harmlessly out of bounds.
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