The triumph clinched back-to-back 11-win seasons for Penn State for the first time since 2008-09 and moved the Nittany Lions to 7-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl, but it was hard to limit Saturday's result strictly to what happened on the field. The first TD opened the scoring when he caught a 48-yard touchdown from quarterback Trace McSorley on the game's opening drive. Midway through the fourth quarter, Huskies running back Myles Gaskin broke through the line and sprinted 69 yards for the touchdown to make it a 35-28 game.
Chris Petersen's team finally reached the end zone in the second quarter, with Jake Browning's two-yard touchdown run capping a four-play, 75-yard drive to cut the deficit in half.
Washington tried a hook and lateral play on a fourth down and wide receiver Dante Pettis inexplicably threw the ball to a Penn State player instead of running out of bounds with five seconds left. But Penn State responded with two more touchdowns, the first being a Miles Sanders one-yard run and the second a Barkley 92-yard run. Stanford, Washington State, USC and Washington were all ranked in the top 20 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and fell to other ranked opponents. Unfortunately for the Huskies and the Pac-12, the Nittany Lions proved to be too much to handle, as James Franklin's team scored the game's first 14 points and held on for the 35-28 victory.
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SEC Network news editor Brandon Zimmerman pointed out on Twitter just how bad the bowl season has been for the Pac-12.
In (probably) the final game for college football's best backfield tandem, McSorley and Barkley were as good as ever. That year Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State all suffered losses in their bowl games while Iowa was the only team to walk away victorious.
Browning completed 18-of-28 passes for 175 yards and a score, while Gaskin led the Huskies with 14 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns.