Quick reaction/thoughts on the Apple Cup

I’ve just got back to the hotel following the Apple Cup and wanted to share my observations…

I’ve enjoyed watching Michael Penix this season. He has excellent arm strength, he comes across well and he has elevated his team. There’s no getting away from the fact this was a poor performance though.

I’ve mentioned recently that he’s been ‘off’ with his accuracy for a few weeks and has resorted to throwing to areas rather than aiming passes. A reminder that his completion percentage was 74.9% through five games and then in the next six, it’s dropped to 59.5%. Today he completed 54.5% of his throws, dropping that number even further to 58.5%.

There were several misses in the first half despite a lack of pressure forcing mistakes. He was off-target and inaccurate and there appeared to be miscommunication issues. I hate to say it but it was very much like watching the Seahawks at times. Nothing was clicking.

His first touchdown came on a coverage bust. The defensive back covering Rome Odunze fell over at the LOS allowing a free 40-yard score. The second touchdown was a classic hook-up between Penix and Odunze. The ball’s in a spot where Odunze can adjust to the football and catch at the back-shoulder. I was told this week that Odunze can run a 4.37 forty and given his sensational body control, consistency, hands and first-class character — there’s no doubt for me he’ll be a very high pick. Don’t be shocked if he goes in the top-10.

Penix’s interception was a bit unlucky — it’s just a good play by the defensive back at the start of the third quarter. However, the wayward throws continued. He threw wildly to Jack Westover who had to make a flying grab despite being wide open. That was right before the second TD to Odunze. For some reason, every time Penix throws to Westover it’s an adventure. It’s like he’s trying to test him with every target.

The end of the game was a mess, even though Washington won. A generous roughing the passer penalty put them in field goal range. What followed was a confusing, fairly awful sequence. All they needed to do was run to kill clock and set up the field goal. Instead, Penix underthrew a pass over the middle to the end zone that should’ve been picked off. Then with just 20 seconds remaining he threw an awful pass to the right corner of the end zone. It needed to go outside (back-shoulder to Odunze) but was thrown inside. The cornerback was ideally placed to make a pick but instead tipped it into the air and it fell incomplete.

Then, Penix sat in the pocket and took a Geno Smith-esque sack for a loss of nine yards, making the field goal attempt far harder. It was bizarre. Everything, it seems, was done to try and blow the end of the game — including the quarterback throwing two turnover-worthy passes and then taking a sack.

As noted, there weren’t any spectacular throws. We’ve seen so many this year, to counter some of the inconsistent stuff. There was one genuine NFL level pass. Penix armed a throw over to the sideline. It’s tight coverage and the DB had position to play the ball, maybe even pick it off. He needed every bit of his arm strength to beat the corner and get it through to the receiver. It was a bullet. But he ended that drive throwing behind his receiver while on the run for an incompletion.

I didn’t see layered passes today. There was very little thrown over the middle. Washington’s offense is playing at a concerning level ahead of the Oregon rematch.

I have to say, I felt like I was watching a mid-round pick today. Despite what some sections of draft media are saying, that might be where he goes. The accuracy issues for several weeks now are part of the issue. The injuries will need to be considered. I was talking to someone recently — and I wasn’t even aware of this — but your entire offense has to change when you start a lefty. It’s not just blocking — the receivers need to learn and adjust to catching passes from a left-handed quarterback.

Me saying he’s probably a third rounder will seem like criticism but that’s only because of ill-judged media hype elsewhere. That might be what he is — and it might be best for him because the team that gets him can take the time to prepare for a lefty to start, allow him to adjust to a new scheme and it’ll give him the best chance to succeed.

I think Bralen Trice is an excellent prospect. He worked through a double team to get a sack in the game and really should’ve been credited with another when he bull-rushed a linemen, disengaged and then worked to the QB. He has a fantastic combination of size, length and agility. I’m told he runs a 4.20 short shuttle at arouind 270lbs. He has every chance to be a top-50 pick.

I enjoyed watching Troy Fautanu live. I’m a big fan. He plays left tackle for the Huskies but looks tailor-made to kick inside to guard. There’s some Alijah Vera-Tucker to his game and he might go in a similar range. Great athlete, he plays with a strong base and can control and anchor. The kind of lineman who deserves to go early.

Washington State quarterback Cam Ward made this a game with some important throws. Like Penix, he also had some misses. I think it really helped seeing him live today. He’s fun to watch but lacks zip in his throws, I’m not sure he’s got the physical potential to start in the NFL and as a runner he’s more elusive than creative. He’s probably a late day three pick at best.

I’ve mentioned Josh Kelly a few times. He’s been a consistent force at receiver for Washington State. He’s also made some incredible catches this year. He had eight catches for 106 yards and a score today. I like him. I appreciate he’s not going to generate much draft buzz but there’s something there. He deserves some attention.

I’m going to enjoy an Old Fashioned in the hotel bar on my final night. I’ve got an article ready to publish tomorrow on the Seahawks. A couple of quick final thoughts. Firstly, a big thank you to Robbie Williams, Curtis Allen and the people at the University of Washington for making this trip a tremendous experience. I’ve been well reminded over the last few days why I fell for the Pacific Northwest 17 years ago and will take every opportunity I can get to come back here. The setting at UW is mind-blowing — the view of Lake Washington next to the stadium has to be seen to be believed. Being given a chance to tour the facility on Thursday was unforgettable.

Finally, jet lag is the undefeated champion of lags.

If you enjoy the blog and want to support the site via Patreon — (click here)


  1. Odium

    Bow down!! Glad you had a great time.

    I think these Huskies are literally trying to kill me.

    • Parallax

      Was watching with my wife and son, wondering which of us was going to blow an artery first.

      • DJ 1/2 way

        When you Husky fans ordered this season you selected the “very exciting undefeated option”. That does not include any blow outs and favors the Huskies in any close games that follow.

  2. Scott

    I’m glad you got to see a typical Apple Cup. This game was typical for this game, records mean nothing. As for Penix, I know a few ex-players and to a man they say say something is wrong with him. You can’t tell except for one thing. He has been throwing everything flat footed, or off his back foot. Is there anything really wrong with him? Maybe we find out later. Regardless, I’m glad you had good weather and got to experience a Husky game, best place to watch a college game in my very biased opinion. Safe travels home.

    • Tony

      I was just wondering that today when watching him. I noticed him throwing off his back foot a lot last few weeks. But today there wasn’t a ton of pressure at times. It’s like he’s refusing to step into his throws and set his feet at times. If he’s playing hurt, props to him for gutting it out.

      Also Dillon Johnson playing hurt as well. He was wincing all game..

      • Jabroni-DC

        Was wondering the same. Is Penix playing with an injury? Something is off.

        Wish we could add ‘in their prime’ Steve Emtman & Vita Vea for the stretch run.

  3. cha

    World Cup 2026, yes Rob?

    • Rob Staton

      That would be awesome

      • DJ 1/2 way

        And a Husky game where you arrive by boat. Better yet, if the World cup is in the summer, just getting a tour of both lakes and the Seattle waterfront.

        • Palatypus

          Olympics in Paris on the table?

          • Dave Stacey

            Rob might shoot me down and / or Palatypus might well be a Brit.

            BUT I’m going to risk saying it anyway, British sports fans don’t really care about the Olympics


            Glad you enjoyed the trip Rob. Have you ever thought about doing a live show in the states or the UK?

            • Rob Staton

              BUT I’m going to risk saying it anyway, British sports fans don’t really care about the Olympics

              Hate to correct you — but this isn’t true. We love Olympic sports over here and have had an incredible amount of success over the years. We put so much more into it than our peers in competition — and we’ve finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the medal table over the last few Olympics.

              • Dave Stacey

                I would love to have a nuanced debate about this subject but it was pretty rude of me to reply to Palatypus in this manner. Sorry guys my bad.

                • Rob Staton

                  No need to apologise — I can see why the assumption would be made. Britain is virtually religious when it comes to sport and the Olympic success we’ve had since 2008 is a source of genuine pride. We are a tiny nation relatively speaking compared to USA, China etc. Our record in the medal table is 4th (2008), 3rd (2012), 2nd (2016) and 4th (2020). I think we might struggle a bit in 2024 though, our cycling and rowing teams have regressed and some big names have retired in Athletic and Gymnastics.

  4. RMK-LouCityHawk

    Glad you had a great trip, funny, sipping an old-fashioned at the Edgewater Hotel while the sun is setting is my favorite way to end a day in Seattle. Hope your view is the equal to that one.

    Also glad to hear that you are in on Trice, seems I might be higher, but the way you’ve been talking about this Edge group has me worried. Then again, we don’t have a 2nd round pick, so…

    • Palatypus

      Is that a Beatles or Led Zeppelin thing?

      • Big Mike

        Not Zep. Theirs was a red snapper thing.

        (read Hammer of the Gods if you don’t get that reference)

  5. Parallax

    Thanks for the article, Rob. I am one of your Patreon supporters.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Penix but he didn’t look right today. Much more so than against OSU and other late-season teams. He was missing all kinds of throws he usually makes.

    I guess it could nothing but nerves. There’s a reason no one has gone 12-0 in Pac-12 history until tonight. This team is not truly dominant like the “91 Huskies were. Man, imagine if we still had Latu! Then all things might be possible.

    I sure hope Penix looks better next week. He’s going to need to if we’re gonna have any chance.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks for the article, Rob. I am one of your Patreon supporters.

      Thank you!

    • DJ 1/2 way

      Something is up with Penix. He was not right at the end of the game. What was going on there? Head in a box of some sort? No celebration? There is only six days until the next game. He needs to get his head right.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Migraine maybe triggered by sunlight or concussion?

        • Thomas

          Probably just nerves.

          However, he was sick for a week heading into the Stanford game. Maybe he has the Flu. The flu is awful where I live in Louisiana right now.

          I think it’s fair to compare Penix to Geno. I think Penix less of a hothead so he could end up being better as long as he keeps his cool and is patient.

    • Palatypus

      91′ Huskies had both Billy Joe Hobert and Mark Brunell, IIRC. No quarterback emergencies there.

      And, I think maybe Damon Huard?

  6. Thomas

    Glad you got to come out Rob. Thanks for your work!

  7. icb12

    But how was the hockey??

    • Rob Staton


  8. Romeo A57

    I just got back after a week of visiting family in Orlando, I am flying to Honolulu on Tuesday for a work trip. Missing out on November PNW weather for a bit does not suck:)

    I do find it very interesting that Oregon and Washington this year are probably the two best teams that the Pac-12 has had for several years, and they get to play the final Pac-12 football match-up.

    USC and UCLA started the exodus from the PAC-12, so seeing USC struggle mighty, when they were so hyped up in the beginning of the season, was somewhat enjoyable.

  9. Palatypus

    Rob Staton said,

    Finally, jet lag is the undefeated champion of lags.

    Yes, that may be. But whenever the Seahawks are making a draft pick on your blog ERROR 404 BAD GATEWAY.

    • Rob Staton


      Ah yes, the ever increasing price of the server I pay for to make sure it doesn’t crash on draft day… crashing

      • Palatypus

        Thanks for the article. Glad you got to get back to Seattle.

        Come to the Senior Bowl. Take your daughter to Pensacola Beach for her birthday.

  10. GF

    Thanks for all the work Rob, I would like to say that Penix …..mmmm …. I don’t think is what our Seahawks need (don’t hate me guys), I’d look more for Jayden Daniels (the way he plays …….. scream SEAHAWKS), I’d also like to say that J J McCarthy’s performance yesterday was pretty good, HOWEVER I see a lot of overreaction about his game, HE IS NOT A FIRST ROUND QB, the throw he makes for Roman Wilson’s TD, it really doesn’t seem good to me, however for many on X/Twitter it was a CRAZY throw (for some reason Safety #25 completely turns his back on the play). We HAVE TO draft a QB in this draft

    • GeorgiaSeahawks

      The mock draft simulator at PFN auto-drafted McCarthy in the late 1st every time, but Rattler was the 122nd rated player. That’s a late 4th rounder! Was able to get one of the highest overall LBs Wilson of NC St. late on day 3. Maybe it will be better after the Senior Bowl and combine.

      By the way Rob, you have teased going to the Senior Bowl for a couple years now. Could this be the year, or will you be busy broadcasting? You have such great content for just these 2 games, couldn’t imagine how good it would be for a full Senior bowl week of practices and the game.

    • Peter

      A foolish team will be drafting JJ mccarthy early.

      Of course anyone can be wrong about all this but there is nothing special there. NBC has a highlight reel from yesterday’s game and its low key funny they include a poorly thrown incomplete 20 ish yarder.

      Dude has very little zip even when they go to short game.

      Hats off the Michigan for making him a high completion passer. All they had to do was have him throw 20 times or less in five games this year.

      Including such classics as getting the win with 13 attempts in a game and that time they beat Penn with 60 air yards on 8 total attempts for a whole game.

      This draft season in hawks land is gonna be lame. The husky/ducks faithful everywhere but here are going to suck the oxygen out of the room.

      Then like Carter most other fans will know Williams’ name and Daniels when he wins the heisman. And be stuck basically there for the whole time.

  11. Joseph

    I watched the Huskies game another disappointing win. Either they’re certainly playing like they’re they’re trying to lose or they can’t handle the spotlight of being a highly top ranked team. They had some important wins vs Oregon Arizona and Oregon State but really bad wins vs Arizona State Stanford and Washington State. The way they’re playing is showing they’re not ready for Oregon this time around. Too many careless mistakes by Penix. He’s playing like he’s not worthy of 1st consideration. And the defense is very shaky. The play calling is very similar to the Seahawks with a lot of soft zone coverages. Corners are playing way too far back at times and the Secondary is the weakest part of the defense. How in the hell do you give up a TD like that right before the half. I hate to say it because I don’t like Oregon, but they have a better chance at winning. Washington is playing like they don’t belong in the top 4 while Oregon is surging at the right time for them. Right now they are showing they had Washington circled on the calendar since the loss in October and they want to be in the top 4 more than Washington does.

    • Steven R.

      Almost exactly my thoughts. Well said. Bo Nix is going to have a grand old time riddling the Husky pass defense.

  12. Big Mike

    Glad you enjoyed your adopted 2nd home Rob. Been to a couple games at Husky Stadium and you’re 100% correct, the view is even better in person that on TV.

    I am very fearful that if Oregon beats UW, which is very likely (Vegas has them as 9.5 favorites) the Pac will yet again get shut out of the Final Four so the committee can get Ohio St. or a second SEC team in. I am no Ducks fan but always root west coast and would root for them in the playoffs. ESPN and FOX will want someone besides a west coast team so that could well happen since they now run college football.

    • Peter

      I have no love for the current CFP.

      I will say it was pretty weird to drop FSU and move up the huskies because their qb was injured. Thays the only reason.

      I know huskies faithful I get it….but in the “style,” point section a close one against the beavers and a tight one vs an unranked team not sure they should have got the bump just because Jordan Travis went down.

      • Big Mike

        In rebuttal I’ll say they went through a gauntlet of ranked teams, Oregon, USC, Utah, AZ (?), Oregon State and came out unscathed. Florida State didn’t do that. Nor did the committee’s precious Ohio St. and Michigan.

        • Big Mike

          I will say this too, if it plays out as I’ve suggested it likely will and Oregon beats UW and gets screwed out of the Final Four, I won’t watch one second of their rigged playoffs. I’ll watch Oregon destroy some shit-assed big-10 team, UW struggle and maybe win and maybe not and Oregon State in their respective bowl games. Might tune into some other matchups that look interesting too but not the rigged playoffs. Now if I’m wrong and Oregon is in, I’ll watch and root for the NW team as mentioned.
          Also while we’re on the subject of college football, my sympathies to all Oregon State fans for the loss of an excellent head coach. Not surprising, but still sad.

          • Peter

            Damn. I though he’d pull a Whittingham.

            That sucks for them.

        • Peter

          I don’t totally disagree. But maybe FSU should not have ranked as high only to get dropped for “reasons.”

          • Big Mike

            100%. East coast bias at its finest.

            • Jabroni-DC

              USC, Washington & Oregon get in on some bias action too tbh, especially within the conference. They get elevated at every opportunity only to get waxed by some SEC team & brought back down to Earth. I root against the Ducks no matter who they play but they have been consistently good this season. Hope UW can pull another rabbit out of their hat.

              • AlaskaHawk

                Unfortunately I agree with Jabroni. There is no PAC team that can measure up to the best of the Big Ten or east coast teams. I don’t want to see another spanking like Washington got the last time the PAC was in the BCS. There are some good individual players but as a whole the teams don’t measure up.

                Save this for the 12 team format where ex PAC teams can get a wild card berth.

  13. GeorgiaSeahawks


    OFFICIAL! DL Byron Murphy II @ByronMurphyII from @TexasFootball has accepted his invitation to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl!

  14. Scandichawk

    There are rumors floating around that Penix is injured, it was discussed on a local radio show last night. He doesn’t look right. Personally I think he is based on watching him so much the last two years. Not only is his accuracy off he doesn’t have same zip on the ball. Probably won’t know what it is until the season’s over, Kalen Deboer runs an elitetly tight ship when it comes to injury information. Would Michael or his agent open up about it pre-draft, though, given Michael’s injury history? Be interesting to follow.

  15. Eduardo

    Hey Rob!

    I’m currently experiencing Seahwaks-lag right now so NO football commentary to impart, but just enjoyed the end of your piece as a fellow Non-PNW guy who loves all things Seattle. Born and raised in San Juan 🇵🇷, but Seattle is such a magical and inviting place. Glad you enjoyed the game and the city!



  16. Troy

    I see the graphic frequently about what the Seahawks gained and gave up in the RW Trade. A year ago at this time, I was excited and energized about this team and the future Fast forward 1 year and this is the lowest I’ve been on this franchise in a long time. Changes are badly needed. Looking forward to Rob’s next article.

  17. Peter

    Something strong for your morning coffee:

    Year to date Geno Smith has provided the team 72 points ( 12 tds )

    Old, crappy, game costing Jason Myers: 75 points ( 25 fieldgoals made)

    • Big Mike

      Well Petey intimated that it’s Waldron’s fault so nothing to see here.

      • Big Mike

        Something strong for your morning coffee

        C’mon my friend, can you save this stuff for at least mid-day. It’s a little early to start drinking.

        • Palatypus

          But not mushrooms.

      • Peter

        Just keep moving the deck chairs around while the band plays.

        Checks out that it would be all Waldron’s fault. Hopefully whatever OC we get next can magic up a qb that that can produce quite a bit more than they turn it over and gets them to stop having a one man competition for “Seattle qb who takes the dumbest sacks.” Wilson is the reigning champ but in a lot fewer games Geno is definitely giving it his best.

        It’s also weird to be super lucky but at something that only negatively effects the game. 8 ints but it feels like it’s once a game a stone handed DB drops one this year.

    • Charles

      Cannot forget about the pat! Meyer’s has 20 of those: equaling the overall points to 95!

  18. Rob Staton

    I’m going to do a video shortly with some thoughts on the Seahawks

    New article is written but I want to tweak it. Will probably do this before I head to the airport or on the plane. It’s free wifi on the plane so I might take the opportunity to write a couple of other things

    Horizontal board coming this week

  19. Jabroni-DC

    Anyone catch the end of the Auburn v Alabama game?
    I can’t stand the ‘no rush’ defense. You pull that crap and you deserve to lose as Auburn did. Duke did that earlier this year against Notre Dame & it cost them their entire season.
    If your pass rush has been working well all game then stick with it ffs. Especially on 4th and Goal from the 31 with a 4 point lead and 43 seconds left.

    • Rob Staton

      I hate it too. Just thought if you’re going to have your DL’s just stand there, how can ANY receiver be 1v1 in coverage in the end zone? Just have everyone drop back and cover.

      • Big Mike

        Kind of proves the old adage a prevent defense does nothing more than prevent you from winning

  20. ShowMeYourHawk

    Glad you could make the trip and enjoy your time in the Emerald City, Rob.

    Just spitballin’ here but here’s my current QB wishlist for the coming draft (regardless of projected draft placement):

    1A) Rattler
    1B) Daniels
    2) Pratt
    3) Cook
    4) Ward
    5) Penix

    Leaving Ewers and Leonard off, as we don’t know how their injuries will determine their futures. If both declaring/healthy, they’d shuffle in somewhere after 2 and before 4.

    • RMK-LouCityHawk

      For me…

      1. Ewers (but might not declare)
      2. Rattler
      3. Leonard
      3rd round…
      4. Howard
      5. Cook
      6. Daniels
      7. Pratt

      After that DO NOT WANT

      • Palatypus

        You wouldn’t take Drake Maye in the 4th round?

  21. Charles

    I am all for change and super excited to draft qb1. I am also very intrigued of the opportunity to get out of hall of fame coach and have an exciting new approach installed for the Seahawks. I absolutely loved the building of the framework when both holgrem and Pete took over. It was fun to see the team being pieced together, developed and then ultimately becoming elite! Who are some of the college coaches that should be plucked?

  22. ShowMeYourHawk

    Left Howard off, accidentally. I’d stick him on the list under Cook. Really like Pratt, who could be another of those “decade in the league, smaller school” guys that scouts will know but the general public won’t.

  23. AlaskaHawk

    I haven’t seen Pratt with Tulane so I would love it if Rob put together an article about him. I guess I should search YouTube for highlights.

    • Palatypus

      Go back and look at his games against Oklahoma on the road and their victory over USC in the Cotton Bowl. You should easily find them on youtube.

  24. Jeff

    Glad you made it out to the Greatest Setting in College Football ™ Rob. Husky Stadium is far and away preferred for me over Lumen Field. I agree with every thing you said about the Huskies as the TV copy showed the same things. Penix just looked… off in a way he wasn’t earlier this year. Every throw was a fastball, and his decision making left a lot to be desired. I’m still hopeful for this team on Friday against Oregon, but things need to be cleaned up. Magical season regardless though, and I’m thankful for every game! Hope the jet lag eases soon and I hope you make it back out here again in the not too distant future! Go Huskies, and Go Hawks!


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