No. 12 Washington takes down No. 20 Texas in Alamo Bowl

No. 12 Washington knocked off No. 20 Texas 27-20 in the Alamo Bowl to get its first 11-win season since 2016.

The Huskies weren’t troubled by the Longhorns for much of the game. UW took a 17-point lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a TD pass from Michael Penix Jr. to Jalen McMillan. Texas cut the lead to seven with 1:40 to go, and got the ball back with a chance for a potential game-winning TD and two-point conversion with 31 seconds left. But the last-ditch drive with no timeouts remaining didn't get a first down.

The win means Washington finishes the season at 11-2 in Kalen DeBoer’s first season as head coach. Washington fired Jimmy Lake nine games into a tumultuous 2021 season and finished the season at 4-8. It hired DeBoer from Fresno State and the former Indiana offensive coordinator quickly landed the former Indiana QB Penix as a transfer.

That move paid off as Penix was one of the nation’s most productive passers in 2022 and the Huskies won seven more games than they did a season ago. Washington made one of the biggest improvements of any team at the top level of college football in 2022 and is well-positioned to be a contender in the Pac-12 again next season.

Penix will be back in 2023 as the Pac-12 will boast one of the strongest quarterback groups in college football. Heisman winner Caleb Williams is returning for USC while Oregon’s Bo Nix is coming back along with Washington State’s Cam Ward. Oregon State landed Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei, former Notre Dame QB Drew Pyne is transferring to Arizona State and Kent State QB Collin Schlee is transferring to UCLA.

Texas, meanwhile, finishes the season 8-5. The Longhorns entered the game without running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson among other transfers and NFL draft opt outs. That allowed players like freshman Jonathan Brooks to get playing time and Brooks scored two TDs.

The Alamo Bowl might have also been the last game of the pre-Arch Manning era at Texas. QB Quinn Ewers didn’t have a terrible game by any means — his stats would look a lot better if it wasn’t for drops on back-to-back plays in the third quarter by star receiver Xavier Worthy — but the Longhorns will have the highest-profile QB competition in college football over the spring and summer thanks to Manning’s presence.

Manning signed with Texas earlier in December and plans to be an early enrollee. That will allow him to practice this spring and potentially get the chance to start as a true freshman. Or if Ewers plays well like he has flashed at times in 2022, it’s very possible that he could keep the starting job for his second season with the Longhorns.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 29: Washington Huskies running back Wayne Taulapapa (21) and Washington Huskies wide receiver Taj Davis (3) celebrate after Taulapapa scores a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns during the Valero Alamo Bowl football game at the Alamodome on December 29, 2022 in San Antonio, TX. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Washington finishes the season at 11-2 after beating Texas in the Alamo Bowl. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)