The quarterback who has led the University of Washington to its first College Football Playoff berth in seven years is crediting God for his success.
Michael Penix Jr. threw for 319 yards and one touchdown Friday in the Huskies’ 34-31 victory over Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship, the school’s first conference title since 2018. Two days later, the Huskies were named one of four teams in the College Football Playoff, their first appearance since the 2016 season.
Penix leads the country in passing yards (4,218) and has thrown 33 touchdowns. Washington is 13-0.
“All glory to God,” Penix said during an interview on ESPN after he was named MVP. “... We’re just super blessed and super excited for this opportunity to be able to come out as the last Pac-12 champs.”
Penix, a Heisman candidate, has made faith and community service part of his story during his two years in Seattle as he compiled a 24-2 record as a Huskie starter. He helped raise $40,000 this fall for Mary’s Place Seattle, a non-profit organization for the homeless community. He also participated in a food drive for Northwest Harvest, a hunger relief agency.
“We want to help in any way we can,” he said prior to the food drive.
His faith, he said during a pre-season interview with the Pac-12 Network, has helped him endure multiple trials, such as when he endured four season-ending injuries during his collegiate career at Indiana. He transferred to Washington prior to the 2022 season.
“There were times when I’d wake up the day of the game, and I’d wait until my roommate leaves, and I’d just lie on the floor, and I’d just cry to God, just praying that He’d protect me that day,” he said. “I knew where my head was at that time.”
Penix often discusses his faith during post-game interviews. When he announced he was returning for another season in 2023, he did the same.
“First of all, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play this sport that I have been in love with all my life,” he wrote in December of last year. “I would like to thank all of Husky Nation and the University of Washington for believing in me and supporting me and my teammates in this wonderful journey.”
Washington faces Texas on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl, a College Football Playoff semifinal game.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.