Huard’s Heisman Watch: Where is UW Huskies’ Michael Penix Jr. now?

Nov 6, 2023, 12:35 PM

Michael Penix Jr. NFL Draft...

UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. during a Nov. 4, 2023 game against USC. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Michael Penix Jr. is having quite the season as quarterback of the No. 5-ranked UW Huskies.

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Not only has Penix led Washington to a perfect 9-0 record that makes it a clear candidate to get into the College Football Playoff, but he leads the nation with 3,201 passing yards while the Dawgs are fourth in scoring offense at 41.7 points per game.

Saturday’s win at USC, a 52-42 shootout, should only help Penix’s case for Heisman Trophy consideration. But where exactly does he sit now in that race? On Monday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, FOX college football analyst Brock Huard weighed in with his view.

“I think he is still right there. He’s going to New York City – if the votes were cast today, he’s going to be there,” Huard said, referring to the invitations that the top Heisman candidates receive for the annual awards ceremony.

Huard’s co-host, Mike Salk, made an interesting observation two days removed from Penix besting another Heisman hopeful: USC QB Caleb Williams, who won the award last year.

“If you had told me two months ago not even that the Huskies would be undefeated today (but that they) were coming off a win over Caleb Williams and USC in which they scored 52 points, I would tell you that Michael Penix is a guaranteed winner of the Heisman Trophy,” Salk said. “And yet over the last three weeks he hasn’t played quite at that same level. And despite the 52 points, he threw for as many yards as their running back (Dillon Johnson) ran for on Saturday.”

Huard said Penix’s top competition is Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who hasn’t seemed impacted by the NCAA investigation into his team for potential sign stealing.

“J.J. has an enormous couple of games in November, including at Penn State this weekend and Ohio State coming to town,” Huard said. “All of the chaos, all of the noise about Michigan and their sign stealing – I’ll be honest with you, any of that publicity hurts (Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh, but it’s certainly right now not affecting J.J. McCarthy and continues to put Michigan at the forefront of all the conversation. So he’s there.”

What about the other candidates?

“Some of the others now with three losses – Caleb’s done, that’s not going to happen,” Huard said of the USC star. “Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma QB, couple losses so he’s done. So yeah, I think (Penix) is very much poised (for Heisman consideration). He’ll get Utah (on Saturday), he’ll get at Oregon State probably in primetime again, he’ll have an Apple Cup, he’ll have a Pac-12 title game. He, like this team, will have ample, ample opportunity to ramp that back up.”

Salk read between the lines of Huard’s comments.

“If I hear you right, if the season were to end right now, (Penix) is in New York (but) J.J. McCarthy probably wins,” Salk said.

Responded Huard: “Yeah, I think so. That’s probably the way it unfolds right now.”

There’s plenty of time for that to change, though. And Penix has something on his side right now – he has 93 passes of over 15 yards, which Huard said is 17 more than any other team in college football.

“How many games have we played – nine? So 10 (passes) a game of 15-plus,” he said. “The second-most in all of college football is Ole Miss, it’s 76. They just chuck it all over the yard with all their spread and tempo and everything that they do. I mean, they are so outpacing anybody, and you saw that Saturday, right? All of those shots down the field. All of those just, OK, here’s a 15-yard curl, here’s a 15-yard in-cut, here’s a deep corner. I mean, they just come at you over and over and over again. It has been just an absolute blast to follow.

“While yes, the last three weeks haven’t always been pretty – (a 42-33 win over) Stanford wasn’t the prettiest and certainly (a 15-7 win over) ASU has gotten no style points whatsoever with interceptions and everything else – he’s put himself in a position in the fourth quarter of the season to go out there and individually realize all your goals and dreams, and then collectively as well.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation about UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on the UW Huskies

AP Top 25: No respect for unbeaten UW Huskies’ latest win
UW Huskies’ 2024 Big Ten schedule set — room for Apple Cup left?
Will No. 5 UW Huskies prove in challenging final month they’re CFP worthy?

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