Michael Penix Jr. on the eve of a record season for Washington

<a class=Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. celebrates a touchdown during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)” title=”Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. celebrates a touchdown during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)” loading=”lazy”/>

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. celebrates a touchdown during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

PA

With all the player movement through the transfer portal during the offseason, Michael Penix Jr.’s arrival in Washington was rather unprecedented.

Going into the final weekend of the regular season, Penix made as strong a case as anyone for Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Penix can put an exclamation mark on his stellar season on Saturday when the 12th-ranked Huskies take on Washington State in the Apple Cup. His season was a display of sky-high numbers, stunning shots and big wins, none of which were expected at this level heading into the season.

“My season wouldn’t be possible without this team,” said Penix. “I don’t really talk about myself in general. It’s always about that team, because the success of the team would certainly highlight the individual success.

There’s been plenty of individual and team success for Penix and the Huskies, who can finish with 10 regular season wins by beating the Cougars and have an outside chance – albeit unlikely – to still make the Pac-Championship game. 12.

“At the end of the day, no matter what you do as an individual, if your team doesn’t win, that’s not good,” Penix said. “Everyone in college, we’re all playing for the next level. We play with our teams, try to help our team win football games, but at the next level, especially at quarterback, these guys They want to see winners. If you’re not a winner, it doesn’t really matter what your individual stats are.

But to go along with Washington’s nine wins are a host of impressive numbers for Penix.

The best passer, not just in the Pac-12 but in the country? It’s not Caleb Williams at USC. It’s not Bo Nix in Oregon. It’s not Jayden from Laura, Arizona.

Penix is ​​averaging 356.5 yards per game, a staggering number considering there have been flashes of that type of production in his previous seasons at Indiana, but no consistency. Penix started the year with eight consecutive games passing at least 300 yards, saw the streak end with just two yards against Oregon State, then threw for 408 yards in the upset victory of Washington against Oregon.

Penix rushed for just five 300-yard games during his career at Indiana and threw for 4,197 total yards in 20 games with the Hoosiers. He’s already at 3,869 yards in 11 games for Washington and with two more big games – Saturday’s Apple Cup and a bowling game – Penix could break Cody Pickett’s seemingly untouchable school record of 4,458 set in 2002.

If Penix reaches 4,000 passing yards, he would be the 14th quarterback in Pac-12 history to pass the mark.

“He brings a certain everyday type attitude,” Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan said. “His calm; you kind of have to be calm with him. He’s obviously super talented, but he’s also very smart.

Whether Penix returns for another season with the Huskies, his place in Washington lore was secured by his performance in the win over Oregon two weeks ago. For all the passes Penix has made this season, his cross throw to Taj Davis on a 62-yard touchdown with 3:07 left that pulled the Huskies even to 34-34 will be hard to top.

“That’s the best pitch I’ve seen Mike make in a game,” Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb said. “I saw him do a lot of crazy throws in practice too, but his recognition of the coverage pattern was phenomenal, and his ability to get the ball out in time and throw the right kind of ball.”

Before the season, it seemed possible that Penix would return for another season in Washington. That may be out the window now with the growing buzz about his NFL Draft stock.

But there is still the Apple Cup on the program.

“I’m just trying to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to help this team win football games and prepare for football games, and make sure that every time we come in in those big moments, we just go out there and shine,” Penix said.

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This story was originally published November 22, 2022 3:49 p.m.

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