The last time the Huskies had an explosive offense and hosted an early season home game against a ranked opponent was 2016. That game was a dominant 44-8 victory over Stanford that served as a precursor to a CFP run. Those expectations are a little too steep at this point (especially after 2 late Spartan touchdowns) but the Huskies pounced on Michigan Stare early 22-0 and cruised despite some late MSU scores to a 39-28 win in primetime.
Washington’s offense was unstoppable early against Kent State and Portland State but there were questions about what they’d do against Michigan State. Those were answered early when Jalen McMillan hauled in a 47-yard bomb despite defensive holding. Shortly after Penix connected with Ja’Lynn Polk in the end zone for a 7-0 UW lead.
After a Spartan punt the Huskies once again moved easily downfield and had a 1st and goal at the 1. The MSU defense stiffened up as 3 straight runs up the middle resulted in -1 yards. On 4th and goal from the 2 Penix kept a pitch option and was tackled for no gain forcing a turnover on downs.
The disappointment was short lived however as on the next play MSU RB Jalen Berger slipped in the end zone and upon review never crossed the goal line. That resulted in a Husky safety and a 9-0 lead. Once again the Huskies moved it downfield and then faced another 3rd and goal at the 1 yard line. This time though Cam Davis punched it in and gave Washington the 16-0 lead.
Washington’s defense answered with a sack on 3rd and long that forced another MSU punt. Penix answered with another TD this time to a very covered Wayne Taulapapa who caught it over the defenders face guard for the score. A bad snap though prevented getting up a PAT attempt and so the Husky lead "only" raised to 22-0.
Michigan State's offense finally found some momentum just before the half. Facing a 4th down around midfield QB Payton Thorne had the season part and scrambled up a wide open middle for a big gain. On 4th and goal MSU again went for it and a bobbles diving catch by Keon Coleman secured the first Spartan points of the game. MSU followed it up with a 2-pt conversion to make it 22-8.
With only 90 seconds before the half a tipped pass almost resulted in a disastrous pick 6. Instead Penix moved the ball reliably and converted a 4th and 5 with 30 seconds left. He then found Polk with 4 seconds in the half to send UW into the locker room up 29-8.
After the break MSU had more 4th down magic. On 4th and long Thorne put it up in double coverage and neither Husky defender could find the ball. The 26 yard MSU touchdown brought it to 29-14 after a missed 2-pt conversion.
It took almost no time for Washington to answer as Penix found a wide open Ja'Lynn Polk streaking deep for a 53-yard TD, Polk's 3rd of the game. UW on the PAT took a 36-14 lead to turn it into a laugher.
Washington's goal line running woes bit them later in the quarter after 2 trips without a TD down by the goal line. UW came out of it with just a field goal to go up by 4 scores.
The Spartans added a pair of late TDs to close out the scoring and make it look closer than it was.
This was a tremendous coming out party for Kalen DeBoer and the Huskies against a ranked opponent on national TV. Washington after the dominant showing will surely be ranked when the AP Poll is released and have the look of a Pac-12 contender at least on the offensive end.
The Huskies will return next Saturday in a home game against Stanford at 7:30p on FS1.