College football star Michael Penix Jr. is giving credit to God after leading the University of Washington to its first College Football Playoff in seven years.
The senior from Tampa Bay, Florida, threw for 319 yards and one touchdown last Friday in the 34-31 victory over Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship, the Huskies’ first conference title since 2018.
Two days later, the undefeated Huskies were selected for the College Football Playoff, their first playoff birth since 2016.
“All glory to God,” Penix said in an interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe following his honorary recognition as the PAC-12 Championship most valuable player.
“I know that resonates with everybody in here. 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 Trophy candidate leading all of college football with 4,218 passing yards in addition to 33 touchdowns, has not been afraid to talk about his faith and praise God.
In October, after the Huskies’ first win over Oregon, Penix said in a post-game interview that he had to “give credit to the man upstairs and thank God for everything.”
“He put me through and allowing me to get to the spot I am today,” Penix said.
During a pre-season interview with the Pac-12 Network, Penix said his faith has helped him endure multiple trials, including times earlier in his career at the University of Indiana, where he faced four abrupt season-ending injuries. He transferred to Washington University before 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 recounted. “I knew where my head was at that time.”
During an announcement about his return for another season in Washington in 2023, he expressed gratitude to God.
“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 said in a video last December.
“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.”
Penix also credits his parents for raising him to persevere in everything he does for God’s glory.
“I always have parents that help me understand; it’s not always about me; things are bigger than me, so I do it for a bigger purpose,” the football star said.
Through a partnership with artist Keegan Hall, Penix has helped raise over $40,000 for Mary’s Place Seattle, a non-profit organization that provides homeless outreach.
Washington will play Texas on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl, a College Football Playoff semifinal game.
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post.
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