PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Myles Gaskin broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and No. 16 Washington won its second Pac-12 North Division title in three years, beating No. 7 Washington State 28-15 on a snowy Friday night.
On a blustery cold night with snow falling and blanketing the turf at Martin Stadium, Gaskin found enough traction to carry the Huskies into the Pac-12 title game and ruin yet again the title hopes of Washington State. It was Washington’s sixth straight win over the Cougars and the third straight year the Huskies denied Washington State the North crown. Gaskin rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns, a year after running for 192 yards and four scores against the Cougars.
He was the best player on the field on a night Washington needed its senior ball carrier to be just that. The Huskies (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12) will face Utah in the conference title game next Friday in Santa Clara, California. The winner will earn a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Washington State (10-2, 7-2) carried the Pac-12’s last remaining hope of finding a way into the College Football Playoff, but the Air Raid was mostly grounded by a combo of blowing snow and Washington’s sticky secondary. Gardner Minshew was 26 of 35 for 152 yards, but his longest pass to a wide receiver went for 11 yards.
James Williams rushed for two touchdowns and the Cougars trailed 20-15 going to the fourth quarter, the first time since 2008 the game had been within five points going to the final quarter.
Gaskin made sure that didn’t last long.
Facing third-and-1 at the Washington 20, Gaskin broke through the line of scrimmage and found no one in crimson there to make the stop. He outraced Marcus Strong, getting to the goal line just in time and putting him over 1,000 yards for the season. Gaskin became the first Pac-12 running back to top 1,000 yards rushing in all four seasons.
Gaskin also scored on a pair of 5-yard runs in the first half and finished his career against Washington State with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Jake Browning threw for 207 yards, overcoming an interception and fumble to finish his career 4-0 as the Huskies starting QB against their rivals. He made a key third-down conversion early in the third quarter, hitting Hunter Bryant for a 59-yard gain, and on the next play a double-pass had Aaron Fuller hit Bryant for a 22-yard touchdown and a 20-9 lead after the extra point was blocked and returned for a Washington State score.
The Cougars’ pulled within 20-15 on Williams’ 1-yard TD run late in the third quarter but that was as close as Washington State would get.
Washington: The Huskies rushed for 258 yards in the snow and have 533 yards rushing in the past two games.
Washington State: The Cougars have struggled with Washington’s pass defense in recent years and the slick conditions made it even more challenging. No Washington State wide receiver had more than four catches.
The Washington band did not perform, a day after one of its three charter buses rolled onto its side while traveling from Seattle. The Washington State band performed the Washington fight song “Bow Down to Washington” during a pregame performance on the field. The section of Martin Stadium where the Washington band would have sat was roped off and left empty. The bus crashed Thursday evening on an icy stretch of Interstate 90 in central Washington. Of the 56 people on board, 47 were taken to hospitals for evaluation or treatment
Washington: The Huskies will face Utah in the Pac-12 title game next Friday.
Washington State: The Cougars will await their bowl announcement but still may have an outside chance at a New Year’s Six bowl game.