STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Washington remains undefeated — and unsatisfied — following another narrow escape against what was supposed to be an overmatched opponent.
Michael Penix Jr. threw four touchdown passes and No. 5 Washington took advantage of a fourth-down drop to hold off a fierce comeback attempt and beat Stanford 42-33 on Saturday for its 15th straight win.
“Even if we were winning by 30, if we’re not playing to the standard that we feel like is set in our locker room , we know we’ve got to do better,” Penix said. “We’re never satisfied. We always are trying to continue to improve and get better each and every week. So that’s our mindset.”
A week after being held without an offensive touchdown in a win over Arizona State, the Huskies (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) got their passing game going well enough to hold off the Cardinal (2-6, 1-5) and extend the second longest winning streak in the nation.
Washington was stuck in a tight game entering the fourth quarter, facing a third-and-8 while leading by only two points. Penix then converted with a 15-yard pass to Germie Bernard and then found Devin Culp wide open for a 24-yard score that made it 35-26.
But Rome Oduzne lost a fumble in the red zone with Washington in position to put it away in the fourth quarter and Penix threw an interception in the end zone after the Cardinal cut the deficit to two points on Justin Lamson’s 2-yard run.
“I think the guys just understand that we’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” coach Kalen DeBoer said. “There’s things we can improve on. But there was some stuff that in the third and fourth quarter where I felt like we were starting to get back into doing what we do. The turnovers in the red zone were costly.”
The Huskies then got a key stop on a trick play when receiver Tiger Bachmeier’s pass on fourth-and-2 from the Stanford 28 was dropped by an open Jayson Raines with 3:20 to play.
“It’s the play probably a lot of people will remember,” Stanford coach Troy Taylor said. “But many more plays in that game and opportunities. Not just one play. … Those guys were trying to make a play. It came up a little bit short.”
Dillon Johnson then scored on a 13-yard run to put the game away for Washington.
Penix battled through an illness to throw for 369 yards and connected on two TD passes to Ja’Lynn Polk and another to Odunze. Polk finished with 148 yards receiving.
Ashton Daniels ran for two touchdowns and threw another to Elic Ayomanor but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Cardinal from losing their seventh straight home game.
Daniels finished with 351 yards passing, including 146 to Ayomanor, who left late in the third quarter with an injury after a 53-yard catch. Daniels capped that drive with his second TD run to make it 28-26.
After getting outscored 50-0 in the first half of its last two games, Stanford finally broke through in the second quarter when Daniels scored on a 5-yard keeper to tie the game at 7.
Washington responded with back-to-back TD drives, including a 92-yard pass from Penix to Polk that was the second longest in school history.
Stanford got two field goals from Joshua Karty in the final 1:05 of the half and only trailed 21-13.
Washington: The Huskies were seeking a better performance after struggling in a 15-7 win last week against Arizona State. The results were mixed as Washington had three three-and-outs in the first half and the two red-zone turnovers in the fourth quarter. But the Huskies got more than enough production from Penix and the passing game to prevail on a night the defense struggled.
Stanford: The Cardinal were much more competitive than they were a week ago in a 42-7 loss to UCLA but still have a long way to go under Taylor. Stanford has lost 11 straight games against ranked teams and 19 of its last 21 in the conference.
“We’re not satisfied with coming close,” Taylor said. “But I am proud of how they played and competed. Sometimes in life you don’t get the tangible reward.”
Washington: Visit No. 24 Southern California on Saturday.
Stanford: Visit Washington State on Saturday.
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