GAMEDAY College Football

Washington 39, Michigan State 28

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE - Kalen DeBoer knew no matter how well the transition had gone, this was the week that would validate - one way or another - what Washington had showed so far.

Behind a spectacular performance by Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies emphatically stated their case as a contender in the Pac-12 and maybe worth some national recognition.

Penix threw for 397 yards and four touchdown, and Washington (3-0) toppled No. 11 Michigan State 39-28.

"We just beat a really good football team in my mind," Huskies coach DeBoer said. "To get this win now is just going to continue to put the belief in our guys."

Penix was terrific for three quarters in a primetime national showcase that showed DeBoer's rebuild is progressing faster than expected. Washington led 29-8 at halftime and 36-14 after three quarters.

Having a star quarterback certainly helps.

"Every game that we've seen (Penix) he comes out with the same energy, comes out with the same leadership, mentality. It's just it's easy to follow someone like that," Washington running back Wayne Tualapapa said.

Penix completed 24 of 40 passes and just missed posting the eighth 400-yard passing game in Washington history. He was at his best in the first half, connecting on 18 of 24 attempts for 278 yards and leading Washington to touchdowns on four of its five possessions.

He wasn't sacked by a Michigan State pass rush that led the country in sacks after two weeks.

"I felt real comfortable out there knowing that I got five guys up there that's gonna protect me each and every play," Penix said.

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

"You got a guy who you can win football games with, not just like try to manage a game, and he's got so much belief by his teammates in him," DeBoer said.

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 answer after Michigan State scored on the opening drive of the second half to pull within 29-14.

Payton Thorne threw for 323 yards and three TDs, and led a pair of quick fourth-quarter scoring drives for Michigan State 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 stymied in the run game and saw their pass defense get exposed.

It was Washington's first win over a ranked Power Five nonconference opponent at home since beating Michigan to open the 2001 season. And the night ended with a sea of purple fans celebrating on the turf of Husky Stadium.

Penix and the Huskies were hot from the outset. Penix threw touchdowns of 8 yards to Polk on Washington's opening possession and a 19-yard strike to Tualapapa on facing third-and-6 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 and scrambling from pressure to hit Polk on a 17-yard TD with four seconds left in the half.

Polk had a career-high 100 yards receiving by the half and the Huskies rolled up 322 yards to just 90 for the Spartans in the first 30 minutes.


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 remained out following offseason ankle surgery.


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

Washington: The Huskies run defense deserves a ton of recognition: Michigan State finished with 42 yards rushing. The better judge of how Washington did was holding the combo of Jerek Broussard and Jalen Berger to 30 yards on 17 carries. Michigan State averaged 228.5 yards rushing over the first two games.

Scoring Summary
First Quarter MSUWash
Wash TD 11:12 Ja'Lynn Polk 8 yd pass from Michael Penix Jr. (Peyton Henry kick) 0 7
Wash SF 1:07 Team safety 0 9
Second Quarter MSUWash
Wash TD 13:49 Cameron Davis 1 yd run (Peyton Henry kick) 0 16
Wash TD 8:32 Wayne Taulapapa 19 yd pass from Michael Penix Jr. (missed kick) 0 22
MSU TD 1:30 Keon Coleman 7 yd pass from Payton Thorne (Keon Coleman 2pt pass from Payton Thorne) 8 22
Wash TD 0:04 Ja'Lynn Polk 17 yd pass from Michael Penix Jr. (Peyton Henry kick) 8 29
Third Quarter MSUWash
MSU TD 11:59 Tre Mosley 26 yd pass from Payton Thorne (failed 2pt pass) 14 29
Wash TD 11:02 Ja'Lynn Polk 53 yd pass from Michael Penix Jr. (Peyton Henry kick) 14 36
Fourth Quarter MSUWash
Wash FG 9:19 Peyton Henry 26 yd FG 14 39
MSU TD 6:51 Elijah Collins 1 yd run (failed 2pt rush) 20 39
MSU TD 5:17 Keon Coleman 33 yd pass from Payton Thorne (Keon Coleman 2pt pass from Payton Thorne) 28 39
Team Stats
  Michigan State Washington
First downs 21 24
  Rushing 5 3
  Passing 15 19
  Penalty 1 2
3rd Down Efficiency 7-16, 44% 7-16, 44%
4th down efficiency 4-6, 67% 2-4, 50%
Rushes-Yards 29-42 36-106
Passing Yards 323 397
Return Yards 41 78
Completions-Attempts-Int 30-42-1 24-40-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2--22 0-0
Punts 3 3
Punts-Average 56.3 37.7
Fumbles Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 7-60 8-64
Time of Possession 30:13 29:47
Michigan State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
P. Thorne 30 42 323 3 1
Washington Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
M. Penix Jr. 24 40 397 4 0
Michigan State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Berger 13 27 2.1 0
P. Thorne 10 12 1.2 0
J. Broussard 4 3 0.8 0
E. Collins 1 1 1.0 1
Washington Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Davis 17 69 4.1 1
W. Taulapapa 12 36 3.0 0
M. Penix Jr. 4 4 1.0 0
Michigan State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
K. Coleman 9 116 12.9 2
D. Barker 7 69 9.9 0
T. Mosley 5 64 12.8 1
J. Berger 3 38 12.7 0
M. Foster 2 22 11.0 0
T. Hunt 4 14 3.5 0
Washington Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Polk 6 153 25.5 3
J. McMillan 7 94 13.4 0
R. Odunze 3 48 16.0 0
W. Taulapapa 2 31 15.5 1
J. Westover 1 27 27.0 0
D. Culp 2 21 10.5 0
G. Jackson 1 10 10.0 0
C. Davis 1 8 8.0 0
T. Davis 1 5 5.0 0
Michigan State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Washington Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Irvin 1 0
Michigan State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
B. Baringer 3 169 56.3
Washington Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. McCallister 3 113 37.7
Michigan State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Washington Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
G. Jackson 1 16 16.0
D. Hampton 1 6 6.0
Michigan State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Broussard 2 38 19.0
G. Bernard 1 3 3.0
Washington Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
G. Jackson 2 56 28.0
Michigan State Missed FG
Player Length
Washington Missed FG
Player Length

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