The domination of the offensive line has been a driving force behind Washington football’s success during the 2023 season.
Last year, the Huskies allowed only five sacks, which ranked second nationally. This achievement played a significant role in the team’s impressive 11-2 record. Additionally, the offensive line’s exceptional performance paved the way for Michael Penix Jr. to have a historic season.
For the first time in his five-year college career, Penix remained healthy and became the Huskies’ single-season passing leader, throwing for a remarkable 4,641 yards and 31 touchdowns. His outstanding performance earned him eighth place in the Heisman voting and the AP Comeback Player of the Year award.
Entering the 2023 season, the offensive line brought back three key linemen from the previous year: Troy Fauntanu, Nate Kalepo, and Roger Rosengarten. They also added promising redshirt freshman Parker Brailsford and sophomore Geirean Hatchett, who have quickly made their mark.
The offensive line’s continuity and talent have been evident in the first five games, as they have allowed only three sacks, ranking fourth nationally. They have once again provided Penix with excellent protection, allowing him to lead the country in passing yards with 1,999 and rank second in passing touchdowns with 16.
The offensive line’s stellar play has not only benefited Penix but has also had a positive impact on transfer running back Dillon Johnson. Johnson had his best game in a Huskies uniform against Arizona, rushing for 91 yards and two touchdowns. The entire rushing attack had a standout performance in that game, collectively scoring four rushing touchdowns.
While the offensive line is currently on pace to give up more sacks this year than last year by a margin of two, it is important to note that this number can always change as the season progresses. Nevertheless, a football team that collectively allows less than 10 sacks in a season typically experiences success. Thus, the dominating force that is the Huskies’ offensive line bodes well for the team’s prospects.
Overall, the offensive line has been a crucial factor behind the scenes of the 2023 Huskies season. Their dominating play has not only paved the way for the team’s success but has also enabled the individual achievements of players like Michael Penix Jr. and Dillon Johnson. With their impressive performance and the talent they possess, the offensive line sets the stage for a promising season for Washington football.