The Day After: Final thoughts on Washington's Sugar Bowl win for the ages
The Huskies are one win away from 15-0.
NEW ORLEANS — Near the stage where the Washington Huskies received their postgame trophies — coach Kalen DeBoer for his team winning the Sugar Bowl, Michael Penix Jr. and Bralen Trice for winning game MVPs — I stopped to chat with UW safety Asa Turner for a couple minutes.
He watched the final play from the sideline, with Dominique Hampton and Kam Fabiculanan the safeties on the field. He was confident in the package and the call, of course, and, like most any UW player you might ask, said he was certain that somebody would make a play.
I asked him: it sort of had to end like this, right? It had to come down to the final play — or close to it — like so many of UW’s thrilling victories this season?
“The crazy thing is, to be honest with you, it don’t always got to be like this,” Turner said. “We feel we could have blew them out, we could have had a great game — they’re a great team, obviously, but there were opportunities we could have capitalized on to really take it to the next level and win by even more.”
Even in a season defined by narrow triumphs, Washington’s 37-31 win over Texas in Monday’s College Football Playoff semifinal establishes a new standard. That’s mostly a good thing, but not all the way. If Quinn Ewers completes that pass to Adonai Mitchell in the end zone, this game goes down as an all-time collapse, and perhaps the very most painful defeat in school history. The Huskies could have made things a lot easier on themselves, beginning by managing the clock better in the fourth quarter.
With one big swat by Elijah Jackson, though, the Huskies instead got to celebrate an unprecedented accomplishment, again snatching euphoria from the jaws of despair. It’s hard to say that this UW team winning every game feels inevitable, considering how perilous the journey has been. No. 1 Michigan, also 14-0, will present a different set of challenges in the national championship game.
But maybe you can only watch a team find ways to win so many times before you stop anticipating defeat, and wonder only about how their next victory will come about.
Some more final thoughts from New Orleans …