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Huskies try to take another step vs. Portland State

Sportsnaut
Sep 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) passes against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the first quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Washington aims to capitalize on momentum built in new coach Kalen DeBoer’s debut when the Huskies host Portland State in a nonconference game Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns as Washington (1-0) opened with a 45-20 home romp over Kent State last week. The four touchdown passes were one more than the Huskies accumulated in the first three games last season before DeBoer and Penix arrived.

With 15-ranked Michigan State on deck, Deboer would like to see his club take another step in its development over last year’s 4-8 edition, albeit at the expense of this week’s FCS opponent.

“This is only the beginning, right?” he said in downplaying the opening win. “This is a journey that we’re on.”

Penix, who threw for just four TD passes (with seven interceptions) in five games at Indiana last season, got plenty of help in front of his new fans. Wayne Taulapapa and Cameron Davis rushed for touchdowns, while Jalen McMillan (two), Rome Odunze and Taj Davis hauled in his TD passes.

The Washington defense also had three interceptions — two from Asa Turner — in a vast improvement over last year’s stunning 13-7 home loss to Montana on Opening Day.

Washington has never lost to Portland State (0-1), recording wins in 2012 and 2016 by a total score of 93-16, but might be these Vikings dominated an FBS opponent in many aspects of the game last week before losing to San Jose State 21-17.

Portland State outgained the Spartans 395-288 and recorded seven sacks en route to a 17-14 lead before faltering in the final two minutes.

Vikings coach Bruce Barnum wasn’t satisfied with a near-upset as the Big Sky Conference club prepares to face a Pacific-12 Conference foe for the second year in a row. Portland State lost 44-24 at Washington State in Week 2 last September.

“I told the team: Don’t accept ‘you played well’ from this. Win the game,” he insisted. “That’s what we need to do. We need to clean up the mistakes and win those games.”

Sophomore quarterback Dante Chachere, making his first collegiate start, passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for a team-leading 83 additional yards in the defeat. Beau Kelly caught nine passes for 133 yards.

–Field Level Media