These days, it seems like everybody gets to be a part of the Huskies’ passing attack. 

Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium, 12 different receivers combined for 376 yards through the air, with sophomore Jalen McMillan and redshirt freshman Ja’Lynn Polk both hauling in receiving touchdowns from quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in a 52-6 Huskies victory over Portland State. 

Last week against Kent State, 10 different players got to take part in UW’s aerial attack, combining for 29 receptions, four touchdowns and 393 yards. 

In the offense of coach Kalen DeBoer and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, the passing game truly does take a village. 

“Sometimes it looks a little bit messy at the end of the game, and that’s because some of those guys were on scout team the entire week, and the only reps they got were the walk-through before practice,” DeBoer said. “Now we get some action, and it doesn’t always go perfect, and that’s a piece of that. It’s fun to just reward those guys.”

Saturday’s passing game performance came without the help of sophomore receivers Rome Odunze and Taj Davis, who combined for 10 receptions, two touchdowns and 156 yards in Week One. 

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Odunze was out with a minor injury, while Davis played briefly, but was not targeted.

This week, it was McMillan and Giles Jackson who led the way, as McMillan finished his night with four catches for 127 yards and one touchdown, and Jackson had a team-high six receptions for 105 yards.

It was the first time that two UW wide receivers both finished with over 100 receiving yards since John Ross and Dante Pettis did it against Cal in 2016. 

“(The offense) is real versatile,” Jackson said. “Everybody can play in our group, all the receivers, all the running backs, because it’s not just one that stands out. We all can play with the ball, so it’s fun. It’s also fun seeing them just get the ball, and seeing other people get the ball that usually don’t get in.”

The highlight of the day came from McMillan, who caught an 84-yard touchdown pass from Penix at the 9:51 mark of the second, tied for the seventh-longest reception in UW history. 

Penix had another big night in his second game for the Huskies, going 20-for-27 passing for 337 yards.

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“He’s great,” Jackson said of Penix. “He’s great, I like him. When he’s rolling out, I just know he’s going to make something happen every time. So I just have a lot of faith in him.”

Eight UW players hauled in a single pass on Saturday, including running backs Wayne Taulapapa and Will Nixon, senior Brennan Holmes, and true freshman Denzel Boston. Boston’s 10-yard reception in the fourth quarter, courtesy of redshirt freshman Sam Huard, was the first catch of his college career. 

Holmes’ 15-yard catch was also the first of his career. He did not see any game action last season after joining the team as a walk-on.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons, and we’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays,” Penix said. “I knew that coming in here. That’s the reason I came here, I knew we’ve got a lot of weapons and a lot of guys to get the ball to. I’m just going to continue to trust the preparation. I always go back to it, just trusting the preparation and the play-calling.”

Last season, the Huskies averaged 225 passing yards per game. Through two games this season, the Huskies are averaging 384.5 yards through the air. On Saturday, the Huskies finished the night with 199 yards after catch, while Portland State finished with just 14. 

“We just knew the offense was totally different than last year,” Jackson said. “It’s a lot more explosive plays coming, so I feel like we knew it was going to be explosive before the first game.”

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For the coaches and the players on the field, it’s an exciting way to run an offense. 

You just never quite know when your opportunity is going to come, and even a kid just months removed from his high-school graduation could get the chance to make a Division I catch. 

“I saw some smiles, I heard some things from guys that said that was one of the coolest moments they’ve ever been a part of,” DeBoer said. “They got to take a couple snaps today. So that’s why we work and that’s what we want to do as coaches is make this a memorable time in their life.”