Washington star Michael Penix Jr. suffers a disappointing crushing loss in the college finals
HOUSTON (AP) — Michael Penix Jr. was unable to complete the final chapter in his season of short stories Monday night.
The quarterback with surgically repaired knees threw for 255 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, pounding No. 2 Washington fell to top-ranked Michigan 34-13 in the College Football Playoff Championship Game.
Penix returned for a sixth season to try to help the Huskies capture a title, but the Heisman Trophy runner-up’s performance wasn’t enough to overcome his team’s defense’s terrible start.
“Everyone knows my story,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot. It’s been up and down. But I’m grateful for it all. I’m so blessed.”
Washington (14-1) was blanked by Michigan (15-0) for 174 yards and 229 total yards in the first quarter as the Huskies fell behind 14-3.
They tightened things up after that, and Penix held Washington to a 3-yard TD run late in the second quarter.
But Penix’s elite accuracy eluded him throughout. Known for his deep ball accuracy, he narrowly missed several passes down the field.
“I feel like it’s about execution,” he said. “I missed a few throws. Just a few reads on routes and things like that. Just little details within our system that we do great all the time.
Penix was beaten in his college finale as well. After the game, he limped down the tunnel back to Washington’s locker room, a towel covering his face and his right arm apparently protecting his sore side.
An interception on the first play of the second half cost Washington momentum, and it was unable to get its team into the end zone after halftime, snapping Washington’s 21-game winning streak.
After suffering injury after injury during his four years at Indiana, Penix played two seasons in Washington without any major injuries to lead the nation in passing yards this season and finish second in Heisman Trophy voting to LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels. He tore his ACL in 2018 and 2020 and suffered shoulder injuries in 2019 and 2021.
Washington coach Calen DeBoer — Pennicks’ former offensive coordinator at Indiana — weighed in on the QB’s decision to join him in Seattle.
“It was a time when we all knew his story,” De Boer said. “It was at that point where it was kind of do-or-die. And I knew in my mind what he was made of. I knew what he was capable of, and now it was just a matter of putting it all together. And I can’t tell you how much it meant “He trusted me.”
Sad and downtrodden for most of his post-match press conference, Penix smiled when asked about his health after that match.
“Better than I was three years ago,” he added.
He then added that he had been examined by team doctors and was fine.
“I knew that no matter what, I was going to make sure I finished for the guys. And just give it my all,” he said. “I’m not healthy, but… I’m fine. Nothing major. “I’m sure he knows.”
Penix will move on to the NFL and the Huskies will leave the Pac-12 for the new Big Ten this summer. Washington is one of 10 schools to leave the conference, and while it won’t go away, the Pac-12’s days as a football power are almost certainly over.
“Our history in the Pac-12 … has come to an end, but all of our alumni who have been a part of so many big games and given us a tradition, I will make sure we always remember them,” De Boer said. . “It’s sad to see the Pac-12 have this time now that we’ve come to an end. But I’m glad we represented West Coast football, the Pac-12, the way we did this year.”
The Huskies were down by 14 with about four minutes left in the game when they took it on fourth-and-13 from the Michigan 30. Penix knocked down his field goal and Mike Sinristil intercepted it, returning it 81 yards. The Wolverines scored two plays later to make it 34-13 and end any possibility of a late lead.
Penix threw for 319 yards in the conference championship game to lead Washington to it 34-31 win over Oregon Before passing for 430 yards and two touchdowns lifted the team to 37-31 win over Texas To advance to the national title game.
But on college football’s biggest stage, he simply failed.
Despite Monday’s disappointing finish, DeBoer believes Penix has solidified his place as one of the greats in school history.
“I hope Husky Nation will always hold you in the highest regard,” DeBoer said. “I think they will. I expect nothing less because I think they also understand what he has given us all.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll And https://apnews.com/hub/college-football
(tags for translation) College Football