Seattle, WA—–The last few weeks Michael Penix Jr has been making plays after plays for the Spartans, this week was no different in the trenches.
Michigan State (2-1) football team fell at Washington (3-0), 39-28, on Saturday before a crowd of 68,161 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.
Penix Jr. was 24-for-40 passing for 397 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks. The Spartans which entered the game ranked first in the nation in sacks, had none on Saturday.
Michigan State dug themselves a big hole early they could never get their offense in gear in Seattle. If they want to compete in the B10, they need to figure out a way to start out faster in the first half.
“We had a lot of support out here today and we really appreciate that,” said MSU head coach Mel Tucker. “It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to come out here and play well today. There are no excuses or no explanations. We give Washington credit. They’re very well coached and they outplayed us today in all three phases. We’re going to learn a lot from it. We’re going to show up tomorrow ready to work and we’re going to have a better response next weekend.”
The Huskies scored a touchdown on its opening series to quickly go up 7-0, Penix threw an 8-yard TD pass to Ja’Lynn Polk. Later in the first quarter, the Spartans stopped Washington on four consecutive rushes inside the MSU 1-yard line, but on the next series, Jareek Broussard was stopped for a safety, making it 9-0 for the Huskies.
Washington took advantage of good field position, driving 50 yards on just six plays, finished by a Cameron Davis 1-yard touchdown run. The Huskies bolstered its lead to 22-0 on a 19-yard Penix touchdown pass to Wayne Taulapapa with 8:32 before the break.
MSU finally their offense rolling at the 1:30 mark in the second quarter as Thorne found Coleman in the end zone on fourth down for a 7-yard score. Coleman also caught the two-point conversion pass to trim the Huskies lead, 22-8; But, Penix Jr. drove Washington down the field just before the break and threw his third TD pass of the first half with a 17-yard dart to Polk on a corner route.
The Spartans received the ball first to start the second half and moved the ball 75 yards on eight plays for a touchdown, Mosley caught a 26-yard pass in the end zone on fourth-and-6 from the UW 26 yard line. The Spartans failed on the two-point conversion, upping their lead 29-14.
On the ensuing series, Washington answered with another touchdown pass by Penix, this time a 53-yarder to Polk for his third TD reception of the game to put UW on top, 36-14, with 11:02 remaining in the third.
“We had a matchup issue that they took advantage of. It was obvious, it showed up early in the game. We knew that it was going to be a game of explosives. Every time, if you look at their drives in the first two games, almost all of their scoring drives included explosive gains. We knew that we needed to eliminate explosive gains and we weren’t able to do that. It was a deal where it was too easy to score and we gave up big chunks. I have to look at the film to see exactly what we need to do to fix it but we had some issues with some matchups.” Tucker said.
Spartan quarterback Payton Thorne completed 30-of-42 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Keon Coleman recorded career highs in receptions (9), receiving yards (116) and touchdown catches (2). Tight end Daniel Barker also had seven catches for 69 yards and Tre Mosley hauled in five passes for 64 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown.
Polk had six catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Huskies while Jalen McMillan finished with seven receptions for 94.
In the fourth quarter, the Huskies tacked on a field goal to go up, 39-14, but the Spartans rallied back with two touchdowns to trim the margin to 39-28. Elijah Collins punched it in from the 1 for the second straight game to cap an eight-play, 70-yard drive with 6:51 left in the contest, and Thorne connected with Coleman on a 33-yard pass for his second TD of the game. On the second touchdown of the fourth quarter, Thorne found Coleman in the end zone for a two-point conversion.
The Spartans failed to recover the ensuing onside kick, but did force a Washington punt to get the ball back; however, MSU turned the ball over on downs with 2:52 left and the Huskies ran out the clock to win the game.
Washington moves forward with a big win for first-year coach Kalen DeBoer – the program’s first victory at home against a ranked nonconference Power Five team since 2001 against Michigan. Meanwhile, the Spartans, who won their first eight games last year, fell to 0-7 in regular-season games out West since a 1984 win at Colorado.
Washington will be home against Stanford at 10:30 P.M. on TV: FS1 RADIO: KJR 93.3-FM