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Washington Dismantles Michigan State 41-7

Washington ‘outlasts’ Michigan State

NCAA Football: Washington at Michigan State
Washington Huskies safety Mishael Powell (3) celebrates an interception of a Michigan State Spartans pass in the first quarter at Spartan Stadium
Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Sound the siren, for the air raid has returned to the world of college football, and Washington has unrelentingly demonstrated that when it comes to executing this high-octane offensive strategy, no other power five school can rival their success.

NCAA Football: Washington at Michigan State
East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) runs the ball against the Michigan State Spartans in the first quarter at Spartan Stadium
Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

The tales that had circulated prior to this clash were tantalizingly dramatic: Coach Tucker’s suspension due to inappropriate behavior had cast a shadow over Michigan State University. On the opposing side, the Big Ten’s passing leader was donning the Spartans’ quarterback jersey, and there was no shortage of hype around their dominant edge rush, poised to wreak havoc on the Washington offense. All eyes were on this matchup, ready to expose any chinks in the armor of what some skeptics had deemed a questionable offensive line.

But what unfolded on that fateful game day was nothing short of spectacular. Washington seized control of the game from the opening drive, setting the tone for what would become a symphony of destruction against the Spartans. Michigan State began the contest with possession of the ball, but their hopes were quickly dashed by a relentless Washington defense. ZTF’s lightning-quick sack put an abrupt end to the Spartans’ initial drive, sending a clear message of dominance. The Huskies’ defensive line then stepped into the spotlight, forcing the Michigan State quarterback into a series of desperate decisions, each less likely to succeed than the last. As it turned out, success was elusive for the Spartans on this fateful day.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal
Michigan State’s Malik Spencer, left, and Cal Haladay, right, tackle Washington’s Jack Westover during the third quarter
Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The narrative that had been carefully constructed around this game was promptly dismantled as Washington’s strategic brilliance and defensive tenacity took center stage. With each snap, it became evident that the Huskies were not here to merely compete; they were here to dominate. The air raid offense, executed with precision, left the Spartans in disarray, struggling to find answers to Washington’s relentless onslaught.

As the game progressed, the scoreboard bore witness to a one-sided affair, with Washington piling on the points and Michigan State desperately searching for a way to patch the leak. The fans in the stadium and viewers at home could hardly believe their eyes as Washington’s players displayed a level of coordination and execution that bordered on perfection. It was as though the entire team was operating with a singular purpose – to leave no doubt that they were the masters of the air raid, and this victory would serve as their emphatic declaration: the air raid goes through them.

Michael Penix Jr., making his long-awaited return to a Big Ten stadium since the start of the 2021 season, entered the field with a bang. His first throw, a precise 39-yard pass to McMillan, set the tone for what would be a memorable day for Washington football. Despite a somewhat lackluster rushing game earlier in the season, the Huskies managed to break through, gaining fifteen yards on two consecutive runs to set up a first-and-goal situation at the Michigan State 1-yard line. It was there that Bernard, a transfer from Michigan State, plunged in for a rushing touchdown, a poetic twist to the narrative.

NCAA Football: Washington at Michigan State
East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Noah Kim (10) throws against the Washington Huskies in the first quarter at Spartan Stadium
Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

The game had its moments of drama, with both teams engaging in quick three-and-outs. However, the Huskies’ secondary came to the rescue, securing their first turnover and providing Washington with excellent field position, a recipe for success they were more than willing to capitalize on.

And capitalize they did, scoring not once, not twice, but three more times before halftime. The scoreboard told a lopsided story, with Washington leading 35-0, leaving little doubt about the outcome. Perhaps the most satisfying aspect for UW fans was that their team seemed to have addressed and rectified any perceived weaknesses. Their rushing game found success when needed, and the edge rushers applied relentless pressure on the Michigan State offense.

One noteworthy takeaway, especially for those closely following Michael Penix’s performance, was the incredible amount of time he had to survey the field and make his throws. Even against what was expected to be a challenging pass rush from Michigan State, Penix often enjoyed six or seven seconds of protection, a luxury that allowed him to connect on rocket-like passes, such as the lightning-fast toss to Polk in the first half. This level of protection against a top-tier pass-rushing defense was a testament to the Huskies’ preparation and execution.

The evolution of the Seattle team was also evident in their offensive approach. They appeared to be more efficient, completing drives in fewer plays, and consistently producing big plays when needed. This newfound offensive prowess allowed them to dictate the tempo of the game and assert their dominance.

NCAA Football: Washington at Michigan State
Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Simeon Barrow Jr. (8) breaks up a pass by Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9)
Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

One concern heading into the game was the perceived strength of Michigan State’s pass rush. However, Washington’s performance forced a reassessment of this notion. It became clear that Washington had the ability to make any defense look vulnerable, as evidenced by Boise State’s struggles earlier in the season. Michigan State, too, now had to contend with the reality of being outmatched, joining the ranks of teams that had experienced a complete resetting at the hands of the Huskies.

As the dust settled on this resounding victory, Washington fans had reason to celebrate and look forward to the upcoming matchup against Cal. The Huskies had not only won convincingly but had also showcased a newfound level of confidence and dominance that had the potential to carry them far in the season. The team is still on track for three thousand-yard receivers, possibly four soon. And Penix is on pace for 5,000 yards.

The message is clear: the offense is ready to dismantle who they want and when they want.

Purple reigns again.