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Spartans give up record-setting 713 yards in loss to Huskies

Michael Penix Jr.
Posted at 8:42 AM, Sep 17, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michael Penix Jr. threw for 473 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Jack Westover, to lead No. 8 Washington to a 41-7 victory over Michigan State playing its first game without suspended coach Mel Tucker.

The Huskies (3-0) totaled 713 yards of offense which is the most ever given up by the Spartans, topping the previous high of 666 yards by Nebraska in 1995.

Penix, who completed 27 of 35 passes, led the Huskies to touchdowns on five of their seven first-half drives and a 35-0 halftime lead. He had scoring throws of 5, 13 and 7 yards to Westover, and a 30-yarder to Ja’Lynn Polk. Former Michigan State wide receiver Germie Bernard, who transferred to Washington after last season, also added a 1-yard touchdown run.

The Spartans (2-1) struggled offensively through most of the game and didn't score until backup quarterback Katin Houser had a 4-yard run with 5:48 left.

Michigan State defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett was appointed interim coach to replace Tucker, who was suspended Sunday pending the results of an outside investigation into a USA Today report that alleged he sexually harassed activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy during a phone call last year.

HE’S BACK

Former Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, the winningest coach in school history, returned Saturday.

Dantonio, who retired in February 2020 after a 13-year run, observed the game from the Spartans’ sideline. He received a standing ovation when he was introduced during a ceremony recognizing his 2014 Rose Bowl-winning team.

THE TAKEAWAY

Washington: While much attention has been given to the offense, the Huskies’ defense has been impressive through its first three games. Opponents have been held to a total of 36 points.

MSU: Michigan State’s pass defense had no answers for stopping the Huskies’ explosive offense. Penix dissected the defense with his precision passing to his sure-handed receivers who were wide-open most of the game.

UP NEXT

Washington: Opens the Pac-12 season hosting Cal on Saturday.

MSU: Hosts Maryland on Saturday in the Big Ten opener for both schools.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll