Texas Football: 4 takeaways from UT's Sugar Bowl loss to UW

Quinn Ewers, Texas football
Quinn Ewers, Texas football / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 3 Texas football made its first appearance in the College Football Playoff against the No. 2 Washington Huskies in the Semifinal game Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Texas and head coach Steve Sarkisian were looking to get the jump on Washington and head coach Kalen DeBoer.

But the Longhorns weren't able to convert early in the first quarter. Texas stalled on its first drive of the game, which put momentum on Washington's side early on. Washington converted on its first offensive drive of the game to get the 7-0 lead on Texas.

No. 2 Washington barely hangs on to beat No. 3 Texas football in CFP semis at the Sugar Bowl

Texas was able to respond throughout the first half, tying the game up at 7-7 in the first quarter. Washington and Texas traded blows throughout the first half, eventually leading to a 21-21 tie heading into the locker room at halftime.

The second half is when the Huskies really sealed the deal against Texas. Washington took a 13-point lead at one point in the second half after possessing the ball for over a dozen minutes in the third quarter.

A late drive from Texas got them down to Washington's red zone with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter after the clock had to stop when Washington's running back came up injured on a third down stop. But Texas wasn't able to convert in Washington's red zone to take the lead.

Here are four takeaways from the Longhorns' one-score loss to Washington in the College Football Playoff Semifinals game at the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

Michael Penix Jr. outduels Quinn Ewers

This was the Michael Penix Jr. show for most of the Sugar Bowl. Penix showed why he was the Heisman runner-up for the Huskies this season, passing for well over 400 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Penix was nearly spotless, especially when Washington needed him to be in clutch moments in the second half of this game. He led Washington on the drive that was the eventual game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter.

Penix was precise, especially throwing the deep ball in this game. He completed over 75 percent of his passing attempts and hit over a half-dozen explosive plays through the air.

For Texas, redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers got off to a slow start. Ewers threw for under 100 yards and no touchdowns in the first half.

But he did come on strong in the second half. Ewers more than doubled his passing yardage from the first half in the final 30 minutes, with over 225 passing yards and one passing touchdown with no interceptions.

It unfortunately just came too little too late for Ewers to find his rhythm through the air in this game. He also missed a key throw late in this game, targeting junior wide receiver Adonai Mitchell on a potential game-winning connection in the back of the end zone on the second-to-last play.