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March 4, 2024

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Penix throws 4 TD passes to lead Huskies in rout of Kent State 45-20

Washington builds 31-13 lead by halftime

6 Photos
Washington's Michael Penix Jr. rushes to the Kent State 9-yard line during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Seattle.
Washington's Michael Penix Jr. rushes to the Kent State 9-yard line during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Seattle. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE — Michael Penix Jr. threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns, and Washington opened the Kalen DeBoer era with a 45-20 win over Kent State in a season opener on Saturday night.

DeBoer’s debut as Washington’s head coach was highlighted by an entertaining, innovative offense that Penix — also making his Huskies’ debut — ran flawlessly against the overmatched Golden Flashes. Penix led Washington on scoring drives on all five first-half possessions and touchdowns on the first four as the Huskies built a 31-13 halftime lead and cruised in the opener.

Only some shaky ball security kept the first half from being even more lopsided.

It was a needed debut for DeBoer, who took over at Washington following two seasons as the head coach at Fresno State. Washington’s fan base was soured by last season’s 4-8 record and ended with coach Jimmy Lake being fired in November and concluded with Washington State celebrating a blowout victory in the Apple Cup.

But whether the Huskies are as good as they showed against the Golden Flashes won’t be truly defined for another couple of weeks when No. 15 Michigan State visits on Sept. 17.

Penix completed 26 of 39 passes and his yards passing were the third-most in his career that started at Indiana before transferring to Washington. It was his second game with four or more touchdown passes.

Penix threw TDs of 32 yards to Taj Davis and 4 yards to Rome Odunze in the first half, and touchdown tosses of 13 and 10 yards to Jalen McMillian in the second half. Washington scored on its first six possessions before finally punting late in the third quarter.

Wayne Taulapapa scored on a 28-yard run for Washington’s first touchdown and Cameron Davis added a 1-yard TD plunge. Washington’s 21 first-quarter points and 31 first-half points were the most in any quarter or half since a 2019 win at Arizona where the Huskies scored 38 in the second half, including 24 in the fourth quarter.

Kent State quarterback Collin Schlee had his first pass of the season intercepted by Asa Turner. Schlee rebounded with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Devontez Walker later in the first quarter, but the Golden Flashes’ couldn’t get stops defensively to stay in the game.

Schlee finished 12 of 24 for 178 yards with two interceptions. Marquez Cooper, coming off a 1,200-yard season, was held to 36 yards rushing on 11 carries.


Kent State: The Golden Flashes weren’t able to play at the speed they have in the past. Kent State averaged more than 75 plays per game last season but were able to run only 68 offensive plays against the Huskies.

Washington: The Huskies start was drastically better than last season when they lost to FCS powerhouse Montana to begin the season. Washington had just 291 total yards in that loss; it had 317 in the first half against Kent State and finished with 535.


There aren’t many connections between Kent State and Washington but two of them were in attendance on Saturday night. Mike Lude was the athletic director at Kent State from 1970-76 before moving to Washington and holding the position until 1991. Lude was in attendance along with Carol James, wife of former Kent State and Washington coach Don James. James coached at Kent State from 1971-74 before taking over at Washington in 1975.


The Huskies host Portland State next Saturday.


Kent St. 7 6 0 7 20
Washington 21 10 7 7 45

First Quarter

WASH—Taulapapa 28 run (Henry kick), 12:50.

WASH—T.Davis 32 pass from Penix (Henry kick), 5:25.

KENT—Walker 47 pass from Schlee (Glass kick), 5:08.

WASH—C.Davis 1 run (Henry kick), 1:18.

Second Quarter

WASH—Odunze 4 pass from Penix (Henry kick), 8:28.

KENT—FG Glass 42, 4:37.

KENT—FG Glass 39, 2:51.

WASH—FG Henry 38, :19.

Third Quarter

WASH—McMillan 13 pass from Penix (Henry kick), 9:06.

Fourth Quarter

KENT—Cooper 1 run (Glass kick), 13:12.

WASH—McMillan 10 pass from Penix (Henry kick), 11:50.

First downs 19 29
Total Net Yards 340 525
Rushes-yards 39-147 34-132
Passing 193 393
Punt Returns 1-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns 6-139 4-92
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 3-2
Comp-Att-Int 14-29-3 29-44-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-4 1-3
Punts 2-41.5 2-34.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 7-70 5-52
Time of Possession 23:03 36:42


RUSHING—Kent St., Schlee 8-47, Cooper 11-36, Bradford 11-34, Garcia 9-30. Washington, Taulapapa 11-57, Nixon 9-29, Penix 4-27, C.Davis 8-18, Odunze 1-4, Morris 1-(minus 3).

PASSING—Kent St., Schlee 12-24-2-178, Kargman 2-5-1-15. Washington, Penix 26-39-0-345, Morris 3-5-0-48.

RECEIVING—Kent St., Cephas 6-105, Walker 4-56, Leach 1-13, James 1-12, Bradford 1-4, M.Harris 1-3. Washington, Odunze 7-84, McMillan 5-87, T.Davis 3-72, Polk 3-45, Nixon 3-22, C.Davis 2-22, G.Jackson 2-21, Culp 2-13, Westover 1-19, Moore 1-8.