Washington Huskies lose at storied Rose Bowl despite late rally
LOS ANGELES — The Washington Huskies gave fans a reason to stick around until the end of the 105th Rose Bowl on Tuesday, despite a slow start against Ohio State. But the impressive fourth-quarter rally wasn’t enough to defeat the Buckeyes. The Big Ten champions defeated the Pac-12 champions 28-23.
All three of Washington’s touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, after the sun set behind the hills in Pasadena. The Huskies trailed 21-3 at halftime, after the Buckeyes scored another seven with 14 seconds left in the first half.
Coach Chris Petersen said the tough loss and frustrating first half was on him, not his players.
“They practiced hard. They’re ready to play,” he said in a news conference following the game. “But we really didn’t play with the edge and that chip that we normally play with, really, across the whole squad.”
Petersen also said afterward he didn’t know why his team keeps starting so slowly, KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel said.
Thiel says putting the ball more often in the hands of star running back Myles Gaskin would offer a resolution: Gaskin threw a touchdown pass, ran for another and caught a backwards pass in the final period.
Quarterback Jake Browning, who walked off the field for the last time Tuesday night, credited much of the fourth-quarter spark to Gaskin. He said the attempt at a comeback was indicative of the team he’s led for the past four years.
“We’re always going to keep swinging, we always did keep swinging, and I think that’s kind of how we are as a team, we’re never out of it,” he said. “Just keep battling.”
The loss on New Year’s Day was Washington’s third loss in a row to a powerhouse program in major bowl games, following a loss in the College Football Playoff semifinal to Alabama in 2016 and a loss to Penn State in 2017 in the Fiesta Bowl, another New Year’s Six bowl game.
The ordinary play in the first three quarters at the storied Rose Bowl aside, Thiel says the Huskies can feel good about their season overall.
“Washington can still be proud of its Pac-12 Conference championship, and the 10-4 record,” Thiel said. “But the biggest, baddest boys in college football are still a step ahead of the Huskies.”