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Sports >  WSU football

Difference makers: Washington passing attack led by Michael Penix Jr. proves to much for Washignton State

Nov. 26, 2022 Updated Sun., Nov. 27, 2022 at 2:01 a.m.

Michael Penix Jr.

The Huskies’ star transfer quarterback – the most productive passer in the NCAA this season – dodged WSU rushers and picked apart the Cougars’ secondary. Penix showed off his accurate arm on short and intermediate routes, but he was at his most impressive on deep balls, of which there were many. From a clean pocket, Penix loaded up and tested the Cougs’ defensive backs with high-arcing passes to open Husky receivers down the field. He connected on 10 passes that gained 15 or more yards, including completions of 75, 48, 47 and 41 yards. Penix finished 25 of 43 for 485 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. He contributed a 4-yard rushing TD on an option play and added a 30-yard reception for a TD on a receiver-pass play. Penix did not take a sack.

Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan

The Huskies’ impressive duo of sophomore wideouts combined for 307 yards and two TDs on 11 catches. They totaled 113 yards after the catch, beating WSU DBs in one-on-one matchups downfield and snagging well-placed passes in stride. Odunze had a 47-yard touchdown grab late in the first quarter. McMillan broke free for a 75-yard scoring catch on UW’s first play of the second half. Odunze and McMillan came into the game ranked third and fourth in the Pac-12 in receiving yards, respectively. They jumped to No. 2 and 3 after the game. Odunze has 1,088 yards this year and McMillan 1,040.

Nakia Watson

Nakia Watson – WSU’s junior tailback continued his strong late-season scoring streak, tallying 114 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 22 touches. Watson, who has scored eight TDs across his past four games, caught a pass out of the backfield and took it 15 yards for 6 to give the Cougars a 24-21 advantage late in the second quarter. He churned his legs and fought through tackles for a 4-yard TD carry midway through the third quarter, cutting WSU’s deficit to 35-33.

Key moment

UW set the tone for the second half on the first play. Penix uncorked a long ball deep down the middle. McMillan was running free, about two steps in front of WSU safety Jaden Hicks. After the Huskies’ 75-yard scoring play, WSU was forced to punt – the past nine possessions had all resulted in scores. Though the Cougars kept it close until the midway point of the fourth quarter, UW’s big play to start the third quarter put the Huskies on top for good.

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