Washington's Apple Cup win over Washington State sends Utah to Pac-12 title game

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass against Washington State, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Washington's Michael Penix Jr. threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday night's Apple Cup victory in Pullman. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

The Apple Cup on Saturday wasn't just a big game for college football fans in the state of Washington.

Utah and Oregon fans also had a lot on the line in this rivalry game.

The winner of Washington vs. Washington State decided the final participant in the Pac-12 title game because of how the conference's tiebreakers fell into place.

Washington pulled away from Washington State 51-33 in Pullman, as the Huskies racked up 702 yards in total offense. Huskies quarterback Michael Penix threw for 484 of those yards while throwing three touchdown passes and running for two more.

And that was great news for Utah.

The Utes (9-3) advance to next week's Pac-12 championship in Las Vegas, where it will face USC (11-1). Had WSU won, it would have been Oregon (9-3) heading to Vegas.

It capped a chaotic final day of the regular season in the conference that started with Oregon in the driver's seat to earn a spot in the league title game. All it had to do was beat Oregon State on the road, but that went south when the Ducks blew a 21-point lead and lost 38-34.

Suddenly, the door was open for Utah.

The final piece to the puzzle was Washington's win. That meant Oregon, Utah and Washington all finished with conference records of 7-2. Utah won the three-way tiebreaker.

USC finished 8-1 in Pac-12 play and already punched its ticket to Vegas a week ago. The conference crown will be decided on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

Utah will be going for its second straight conference title, while USC will have a shot at the College Football Playoff with a win.