Defenses dominate as Washington beats Utah for Pac-12 title, Rose Bowl berth

  • Washington’s Byron Murphy #1 and Taylor Rapp #7 collide with Utah’s Solomon Enis and force him to drop the ball during the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: The Washington Huskies run out on the field for the Pac 12 Championship game against the Utah Utes at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Jake Browning #3 of the Washington Huskies passes the ball against the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Utah quarterback Jason Shelley (15) rolls out against Washington during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies runs the ball against the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Jake Browning #3 of the Washington Huskies dives for a first down against the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Chris Petersen of the Washington Huskies talks to his team during the Pac 12 Championship game against the Utah Utes at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes stands on the sidelines during the Pac 12 Championship game against the Washington Huskies at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Jake Browning #3 of the Washington Huskies passes the ball against the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies is tackled by Corrion Ballard #15 of the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Utah quarterback Jason Shelley throws a pass against Washington during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Andre Baccellia #5 of the Washington Huskies breaks away from Jaylon Johnson #1 of the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Byron Murphy #1 of the Washington Huskies runs past Cole Fotheringham #89 of the Utah Utes to return an interception for a touchdown during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Aaron Fuller #2 of the Washington Huskies is tackled by Julian Blackmon #23 of the Utah Utes during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Washington running back Salvon Ahmed (26) runs in front of Utah defensive tackle Leki Fotu (99) during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington defensive back Myles Bryant (5) celebrates with teammates after sacking Utah quarterback Jason Shelley, bottom, during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington wide receiver Aaron Fuller (2) tries to get away from Utah linebacker Cody Barton during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington quarterback Jake Browning, right, runs away from Utah defensive tackle Leki Fotu (99) during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs in front of Utah defensive back Corrion Ballard during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington quarterback Jake Browning (3) passes against Utah during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington head coach Chris Petersen, center, watches during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game against Utah in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs against Utah defensive back Corrion Ballard during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington defensive back Myles Bryant (5) sacks Utah quarterback Jason Shelley (15) during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Utah place kicker Matt Gay, right, kicks a field goal against Washington during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington place kicker Peyton Henry (47) kicks a field goal against Utah during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs against Utah during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs against Utah during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Utah quarterback Jason Shelley (15) passes against Washington during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington defensive back Myles Bryant (5) celebrates as defensive back Byron Murphy (1) returns an interception for a touchdown against Utah during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • Washington defensive back Byron Murphy returns an interception 66 yards for the only touchdown of the game against Utah during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship game on Friday night in Santa Clara. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

  • SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Andre Baccellia #5 of the Washington Huskies celebrates after the Huskies beat the Utah Utes to win the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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SANTA CLARA — Byron Murphy returned a deflected interception 66 yards for the game’s only touchdown to lead No. 10 Washington to a 10-3 victory over No. 17 Utah in an offensively challenged Pac-12 championship game on Friday night.

In a matchup of the two stingiest defenses in the conference, neither offense could get much of anything going at all. So it was only fitting that a dropped pass by Utah (9-4, No. 17 CFP) led to an interception for Washington (10-3, No. 11 CFP) and the only touchdown.

Both teams had been held to just one field goal when the Huskies broke through late in the third quarter.

Jason Shelley’s pass hit Siaosi Mariner in the hands inside the Washington 35-yard line. But Mariner couldn’t hold onto the pass and it ricocheted off his leg and into the hands of Murphy, who raced 66 yards for the score that made it 10-3.

Jordan Miller intercepted another pass from Shelley on the following drive and Murphy got his second interception of the game the next time Utah had the ball. The Huskies sealed the victory with a fourth-down stop in the final minute to earn a trip to the Rose Bowl.

The Huskies had four drives of at least 10 plays but got only one field goal out of those. They were stopped on a fourth-and-6 from the Utah 23 on the opening drive, threw an interception in Utah territory on the third drive and had a field-goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.

The one score came on Peyton Henry’s 29-yard field goal late in the first half. That was enough to give Washington a 3-0 lead at the break but the Utes tied it with a score on the opening possession of the third quarter when Matt Gay’s 53-yard field goal just cleared the crossbar.

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah: The Utes made it to the title game despite losing quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss to injuries in a four-day span in early November. Shelley and Armand Shyne stepped in and let the Utes to three straight wins and a spot in this game but they weren’t good enough against the Huskies. Shelley’s three interceptions were his first turnovers as a starter. He threw for just 137 yards. Shyne ran for 37 yards on 11 carries.

Washington: The Huskies came into the season with playoff hopes but a season-opening loss to Auburn and then a pair of losses to Oregon and Cal in October ended that quest. But Washington still managed to win the conference and will go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2000 season.

UP NEXT

Washington: Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, vs. Ohio State or Michigan

Utah: Bowl game to be determined (Alamo, Holiday, Sun all possible)

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