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Michael Penix Jr. tosses 4 TD passes as Washington routs Kent State

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

Two transfers making their Washington Huskies debuts on Saturday night played a big part in helping their new team win its season opener 45-20 over Kent State in Seattle.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr., a transfer from Indiana, threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns with 26 completions on 39 attempts. Former Virginia running back Wayne Taulapapa led the way on the ground with 11 carries for 57 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter.

Washington’s offense was nearby unstoppable; the Huskies scored points on their first six possessions, including five touchdowns. Three players caught touchdowns from Penix, including two scores for wide receiver Jalen McMillan. Rome Odunze’s seven catches led Washington, and he added a 4-yard touchdown reception among his 84 yards receiving.

Cameron Davis added a touchdown run, Asa Turner intercepted two passes and Washington (1-0) ended a four-game losing streak from last season.

Penix looked accurate throwing downfield, and his receivers did a good job getting open against soft coverage one on one. The second touchdown pass to McMillan was the most difficult throw for Penix, but he threaded the pass over the middle and McMillan ran in for the 13-yard score.

Taulapapa took a handoff and ran through a hole on the left side of the offensive line for his first Washington touchdown. The Huskies, playing Kent State for the first time ever, led 31-13 at halftime

The Huskies won for the 400th time in school history at Husky Stadium, and made a winner of head coach Kalen DeBoer in his first game at the helm.

Kent State (0-1) got 178 passing yards and a touchdown from Collin Schlee, though he threw two interceptions. The Golden Flashes defense kept Washington out of the end zone on fourth-and-goal inside the final 90 seconds of the game.

Devontez Walker caught a 47-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and Dante Cephas caught six passes for 105 yards for Kent State. Washington outgained Kent State in total offense, 525 yards to 340.

–Field Level Media