Losing Heisman Won’t Matter If Michael Penix Wins CFP Title Game

The Heisman Tropohy runner-up will lead Washington against Michigan next week

Michael Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies.
Michael Penix Jr. is hoping to lead the Washington Huskies to a national championship.
Sean Gardner/Getty

Though some ESPN viewers who saw a NSFW video during Monday night’s broadcast of the Sugar Bowl may disagree, the star of the evening was Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who passed for 430 yards and two touchdowns as the Huskies held off Texas to advance to take on Michigan for the College Football Playoff title. If Penix wins that title and departs for the NFL as a champion, losing out on the Heisman Trophy won’t hurt him or his pair of surgically-repaired knees quite as much.

A sixth-year quarterback who will be at least 24 by the time he takes his first NFL snap, Penix finished second in voting for the Heisman, which is awarded each year to “the outstanding college football player in the United States whose performance epitomizes great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.” Penix (1,701 total points, 292 first-place votes) was the runner-up to LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (2,029 points, 503 first-place votes). Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (885 points, 51 first-place votes) and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (352 points, 20 first-place votes) finished third and fourth, respectively.

After the perceived snub, many of Penix’s teammates took to social media to voice their displeasure with the vote, including running back Dillon Johnson, who may miss the championship game against Michigan with an injury.

Facing a Texas defensive line anchored by two of the top tackles in the college football, Penix certainly made it look like the Heisman voters may have gotten it wrong as he routinely carved up the Longhorns with accuracy —  29-of-38 (76%) — and without committing a turnover or tacking a sack.

“I don’t know if you can transfer the Heisman Trophy or how that works, but man, he’s the best to do it in the nation, and I’ve known that for a long time,” said Washington receiver Rome Odunze, who finished with six catches for 125 yards in the win. “Unfortunately, I feel like the media and everybody on the outside hasn’t paid close enough attention. He’s special and he’s fought through adversity and here he is shining on the biggest stage.”

That stage will get a little bigger and bit brighter on January 8 against the Wolverines and, if last night’s game against Texas is any indication, Penix is set to reprise his starring role.

Heisman Winner DeVonta Smith on Draft Prep, NFL Idols and His “Madden” Rating Expectations
The former Alabama gamebreaker was just the fourth wide receiver in history to win the Heisman

Underdogs by 4.5 points to the Wolverines, the Huskies have more than Penix’s primetime play working in their favor. Ironically, they also have Heisman history, according to the The Seattle Times. “Penix is one of just two Husky Heisman finalists, joining defensive lineman Steve Emtman, who finished fourth in 1991. Emtman, of course, went on to win Washington’s most recent national championship later that winter,” per the publication. “Likewise, Penix — and his brothers — have an opportunity to avenge a loss with a lasting win.”

Given the relationship it appears Penix has with his football brothers, we’re guessing vengeance will be theirs.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.