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Penn State Fiesta Bowl rapid reaction: Nittany Lions 35, Washington 28

31 December 2017

No. 9 Penn State burst to a 28-7 lead and held on for a 35-28 win over No. 11 Washington to take the Fiesta Bowl. The Nittany Lions had missed a field goal with less than 40 seconds left, leaving the door open for Washington. Barkley, in what was likely his final collegiate game, ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns - the big play a 92-yard romp down the PSU sideline for a score. The junior, who is likely heading to the National Football League, wasn't used as a workhorse on Saturday but when he was utilized, he was extremely effective. Hamilton added five grabs for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Myles Gaskin pulled the Huskies back within 14 with a 13-yard scoring jaunt with 4:15 to play in the half. But Penn State took over and bled most of the remaining seven minutes from the clock thanks to clutch third-down conversions from Barkley and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton. Facing a defense that ranked in the top five almost across the board, Penn State gained 545 yards on 6.9 yards per play with 25 first downs and 13 third-down conversions on 17 tries.

He was especially in sync on third down, when he completed all 12 of his third-down passes, 10 of which went for first downs.

He finished the game 32-41 passing for 322 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

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With three-fourths of the conference headed to bowl games, there was potential for the Pac-12 to have an impressive showing and prove that despite not having a team qualify for the College Football Playoff, it is still one of the better Power-5 conferences.

Chris Petersen's team finally reached the end zone in the second quarter, with Jake Browning's two-yard touchdown run capping a four-play, 75-yard drive to cut the deficit in half.

SEC Network news editor Brandon Zimmerman pointed out on Twitter just how bad the bowl season has been for the Pac-12. Only Utah - who beat West Virginia - won a bowl game.

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The previous record was set in 2008 when Big Ten teams went 1-6.

This year the Pac-12 saw Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Washington State, Arizona State, USC and Washington all lose and the Utes be the only team to pick up a win.

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