It’s still surreal that Oregon and Washington just played the final Pac-12 Championship game ever. It’s even more surreal that it ended in absolutely thrilling fashion.
Sure, perhaps Washington State and Oregon State remain member schools, and maybe there’s a future in which the league is kept alive and repopulated with the likes of Boise State or San Diego State, but the conference as we know it is over.
In the Pac-12’s last days, as the flagship USC faltered for nearly two decades, it was Oregon and Washington that kept the conference relative on a national level.
Had the Ducks and Huskies not picked up the slack of Lane Kiffin and Clay Helton, this day would have come much sooner.
It was a fitting end for the conference. Two of its signature teams played an absolute classic that came down to the wire.
We couldnt have asked for a better end to the Pac-12.
1. The Drive
In a game of this historical magnitude, there’s bound to be an image or a moment that defines the narrative and legend of the contest. I submit for consideration: The Drive.
With 9:04 left in the game, Oregon punted the ball to the Washington 18 yard line. The Ducks were down 3, but had all the momentum in the world. Washington football opened the game up 20-3, but Oregon was storming back.
They’d scored 24 unanswered before a Washington touchdown made it 27, and one more stop would certainly give the Ducks the opening to retake the lead.
The Huskies had other plans. Michael Penix led Washington on a 12-play, 82-yard scoring drive that lasted 6 minutes and 20 seconds, punctuated by a 2-yard toss from Penix to Quentin Moore.
Oregon punted the ball away with 9:04 remaining, and they didn’t see the ball again until there were just under three minutes to go.
Penix completed five passes, and Dillon Johnson carried the ball three times. It was a balanced drive in which Washington’s offense looked the smoothest it had looked for most of the game.
There were more fireworks after this drive, but no moment all night was more important to Washington’s win. In such a historic game, it was the defining moment.