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Penix has Sweet Game Leads Washington to National Title Game – Realdawg.com

The Washington Huskies beat the Texas Longhorns 37-31 in the 2024 Sugar Bowl Monday night.  The Huskies had a couple of opportunities to break the game open and go up 3 scores, but the Longhorns’ resiliency tested the often-tested Washington.  With nothing but zeros on the game clock it was Elijah Jackson swatted what would have been the game-tying touchdown.  Jackson’s right hand preserved the Washington victory, sending them to the National Championship Game in Houston, Texas next Monday.

The Washington Huskies now have a chance to deliver a perfect 15-0 season, a feat that only four teams have accomplished in the history of college football. Washington (14-0) will play Michigan (14-0) at 4:30pm PST next Monday at NRG Stadium in Houston. The game will be broadcast on ESPN, and the nation will look on as Washington’s 21-game win streak will face arguably it’s toughest threat.

Here are RealDawg.com’s takeaways from the Sugar Bowl:

Michael Penix is Here

What a game from Penix. In the biggest game of the year a fully healthy Michael Penix showed up and balled out. He finished the night with 430 yards. After that game anyone who hadn’t paid any attention to the Pac-12 all year was in love with Penix’s ability. Penix showed off the incredible arm that has gotten the Huskies this far.  (Takeaways continue below Podcast)

All night long he simply hit the window perfectly. With Penix executing at the top of his ability everything fell into place around him, all the receivers got going as the Huskies offense looked close to perfect for three quarters.

Emmanuel Acho summarized Penix’s game perfectly on X saying, “A good quarterback can hit a door from 30 yards away.  A great quarterback can hit the doorknob.  Michael Penix can hit a keyhole.”

And with the counter-clockwise spin on the ball Penix has unlocked the gate to the National Championship in Houston next Monday.

A Bigger Stage

Watching this defense try and stop the run was tough. Despite the good games from Trice, Ulofoshio and others UW just could not keep the Longhorns from running the football. Quinn Ewers looked subpar all night yet the Texas offense was free to move the ball up and down the field. Texas was running the ball at will, something that Michigan likes to do, and is much better at.

The Huskies made some big plays on the ground when needed but generally there were too many big holes. Three Texas players had 50+ yards, including Quinn Ewers. That will be a focal point of the Wolverines game plan next week, and something the Huskies need to step up and stop if they want to win a championship.

Making Plays

What a group of pass catchers the Huskies have. Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk were the headliners as the entire pass catching unit  flashed their brilliance throughout the night. Penix was putting the ball out there and allowing these guys to make plays. Odunze and Polk both went over 100 yards while Westover and McMillan were in the 50, and Bernard had 48. To put that in perspective, Xavier Worthy, who had led Texas in receiving yards all year had 45.

Once again the Huskies proved that their passing attack is miles and miles ahead of anyone in the nation. Not only where the receivers making plays every chance they got, but Bralen Trice is another Husky star, that had one of the best games of his career under the lights. Two sacks, and a forced fumble saw Trice showing up big time

Execution

Both teams looked a little shaky on the biggest stage. Luckily for the Huskies, Texas seemed more stunned by the moment than Washington, but that could just be a perception. Especially early on in the game. Texas saw penalties on their first offensive and defensive snaps, and played their most flagged game of the season. UW wasn’t as bad, but big penalties helped the Longhorns out.

Ball security was another issue both teams faced. UW muffed an early punt when they had an opportunity to go lights out early, and Texas fumbled in two big spots that potentially cost the game. The Huskies will need to step up in the details if they want to beat a very well coached Michigan team.

From the Ground Up

Washington is the only team in this playoff with zero five stars on the roster, and that alone is a testament to the work put into to recruit the right guys, and the coaching that has built this team. Two of UW’s biggest players yesterday were former walk-ons. Both Grady Gross and Jck Westover walked on to the team, and on the biggest stage came in clutch.

Gross was the leading scorer for both teams with 13 points on the night, and most of them in the fourth quarter. Westover stayed relatively quiet early but when the Huskies needed a big play he was again Mr. Reliable as he finished the game with 59 yards. Players like these ones are the reason this UW team is where they are at.






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