Heading into the national championship game against Michigan, Michael Penix Jr. threw for a nation-leading 4,648 passing yards with 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions, good enough to finish as Heisman runner-up. However, Penix Jr. faced Michigan’s No. 2 passing defense on Monday night and had his worst game of the season in Washington’s 34-13 loss to the Wolverines.
Penix Jr. was 27-of-51 for 255 yards with one passing touchdown and two interceptions. Per Pro Football Focus, Michigan pressured Penix Jr. on 17 of his dropbacks — Penix Jr. was 3 of 15 on those dropbacks for 14 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions, sacked once, and had a five-yard rush. Michigan made Penix Jr. uncomfortable the entire game and by the end of the game he was battered, bruised, and limping.
Michigan was objectively great on defense in the game, but Penix Jr. opted not to give the Wolverines the proper credit they deserved.
“They’re a good team. We just didn’t execute in the moments when we needed to. It’s just about executing. I don’t feel like they did anything — I feel like we beat ourselves,” Penix Jr. said. “And there were times we definitely had opportunities to make big-time plays, to make the game a lot different. But it comes down to executing. They’re a good team, but we had a lot of opportunities.”
Penix Jr. feeling like Michigan didn’t do anything and just beat themselves is flat-out false and silly. Michigan won in the trenches and kept pressuring Penix Jr. and disrupted his timing over and over again. That’s not a team beating itself, that’s another team just physically dominating another. Further, Penix Jr. saying “I don’t feel like they did anything” when the Wolverines picked him off twice doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Michigan did plenty, and that’s why they won the national championship. A player can always say they beat themselves, but not this time, Michigan beat the Huskies with hard work and execution.