Welcome to the Michael Penix Jr. bandwagon — we’re glad to see you.
If you missed out on the Washington Huskies’ quarterback over the last two years because he plays mostly on the West Coast, or you minimized his NFL potential due to his medical history (injuries ended all four of his seasons at Indiana before he transferred to Washington, including two ACL tears), ot if he got lost in a loaded quarterback draft class for any reason in your mind? Well, Washington’s 37-31 win over Texas in the CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl should change your placement of Penix on whatever Big Board you care to carry.
Penix completed 29 of 38 passes for 430 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, and the Huskies would not have had this win were it not for him. As it stood, Texas had a chance for the go-ahead touchdown as time expired in a gallant battle for both teams. In the end, the difference was Penix, whose yardage total in a College Football Playoff game is only eclipsed by Joe Burrow’s 493 yards for LSU against Oklahoma in the 2019 Peach Bowl.
In this game, Penix became also the first college quarterback since Patrick Mahomes for Texas Tech in 2015 and 2016 to throw for more than 4.500 yards in two consecutive seasons. Not only is Penix an underrated runner (31 yards on three carries in this win), but the deep ball placement is unmatched in the NCAA, unless you want to throw LSU’s Jayden Daniels in the discussion, which you probably should. There is no better thrower of boundary routes than Penix, especially those deep throws, and his back-shoulder fade ball would be the envy of most professional quarterbacks.
Basically, Penix has been making NFL throw after NFL throw for a long time.
And in this game, Texas’ defense had very few answers for what Penix was cooking to his ridiculous group of receivers.
“The guy was on a mission,” Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer said after the game of his quarterback. “He was on a mission. The last month, really ever since the PAC-12 Championship, realizing that it’s right there in front of us, right there in front of him, maybe even being No. 2 in the whole [Heisman Trophy] voting thing [behind Jayden Daniels] and some of that put a chip on his shoulder, too.”
After this game, I don’t know what else Penix has to prove.
Penix is that older man at the YMCA that has an automatic 3-ball (his deep accuracy), but every now and then he’ll drive past you and lay it in to remind you that he can do that too even if he doesn’t rely on it often. That’s the best way I can describe it.
Underrated mobility. pic.twitter.com/Lv2IhcQzwF
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) January 2, 2024
Frozen rope by Michael Penix pic.twitter.com/BKuLTxdccg
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) January 2, 2024
lovely flick from Michael Penix to beat the rush pic.twitter.com/T7z2PEJ2vP
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) January 2, 2024
— Full-Time Dame 💰 (@DP_NFL) January 2, 2024
Penix is just insane. Like, just throwing into the craziest windows. pic.twitter.com/c8m8RTpKat
— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) January 2, 2024
Penix stil has one more collegiate game in front of him, and if he and the Huskies are able to get past the Michigan Wolverines in the CFP National Championship, it will be one more reason that Michael Penix Jr. should be right up there with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or any other quarterback in the 2024 draft class.