Washington makes statement, beats No. 11 Michigan St 39-28

Michael Penix Jr. threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns, and Washington asserted itself as a Pac-12 contender with a 39-28 win over No. 11 Michigan State.

SEATTLE (AP) — Michael Penix Jr. threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns, and Washington firmly declared his case as a contender in the Pac-12 with a 39-28 win over No. 11 Michigan State on Saturday night.

Penix was spectacular for three quarters in a national primetime show that showed Kalen DeBoer’s rebuild of the Huskies (3-0) progressing faster than expected. Washington led 29-8 at halftime and 36-14 after three quarters.

Having a star quarterback certainly helps.

Penix completed 24 of 40 passes, narrowly missing the eighth 400-yard pass play in Washington history. He was at his best in the first half, making 18 of 24 tries for 278 yards and leading Washington for touchdowns on four of his five possessions.

It was the second best day of Penix’s career in terms of yards and TDs, trailing only 491 yards and five TDs against Ohio State in 2020 while playing for Indiana.

Ja’Lynn Polk had six catches for a career-high 153 yards and three TDs. Polk’s 53-yard touchdown catch early in the third quarter was a resounding response after Michigan State scored on the opening second-half drive to draw within 29-14.

Payton Thorne threw for 323 yards and three TDs and led two fast scoring drives for Michigan State in the fourth quarter that caused some nerves for the Huskies. Thorne threw a 33-yard TD to Keon Coleman with 5:17 left and the 2-point conversion pulled Michigan State within 11. But the rally was too late for the Spartans (2-1), who were in the running game and hampered were seen their pass defense uncovered.

It was Washington’s first home win against an opponent in the nonconference Power Five category since beating Michigan to open the 2001 season.

Penix and the huskies were hot from the start. Penix threw Polk touchdowns from 8 yards on Washington’s opening possession and a 19-yard smack at Wayne Tualapapa when he scored in third and sixth quarters in the second quarter. Penix capped his stellar first half by leading Washington on a 65-yard TD drive in the closing seconds of the half, struggling under the pressure to hit Polk with a 17-yard TD four seconds from the end of the period Half.

Penix finished the first half 18 of 24 for 278 yards. Polk had a career-high 100 yards at the half. The Huskies rolled up 322 yards to just 90 yards for the Spartans in the first 30 minutes.

ABSENCE

Michigan State played without starting wide receiver Jayden Reed and starting defensive tackle Jacob Slade. Washington was without starting safety Asa Turner and left tackle Jaxson Kirkland was out after an offseason ankle surgery.

THE TAKE AWAY

Michigan State: The Spartans had the worst pass defenses in the country a season ago. And while there was hope it had improved in the first two games, the Spartans’ secondary level was completely exposed by Washington. The Spartans surrendered nearly 400 yards in just three quarters. Washington’s first punt came in the last minute of the third quarter.

Washington: The Huskies’ running defense deserves a lot of credit: Michigan State ended up rushing for 42 yards. The better judge of how Washington did was holding the combination of Jerek Broussard and Jalen Berger at 30 yards with 17 carries. Michigan State rushed for an average of 228.5 yards in their first two games.

NEXT

Michigan State: The Spartans host Minnesota to open Big Ten play next Saturday.

Washington: The Huskies open Pac-12 game next Saturday with host Stanford.

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/ncaa/ncaab/huskies/washington-makes-statement-beats-no-11-michigan-st-39-28/281-f7d05bf2-59d4-4b18-ba11-413feecbaad8 Washington makes statement, beats No. 11 Michigan St 39-28

Emma Bowman

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