Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. caught everyone’s attention when FOX cameras cut to him with his head in a phone box during the game-winning field goal from Grady Gross in last Saturday’s Apple Cup. While the celebration roared inside Husky Stadium, Penix left the field with an escort and a jacket draped over his shoulders with the hood up.

The assumption was that Penix was simply overcome with emotion. Washington had just completed a perfect, 12-0 season. Given everything the UW quarterback has been through over the course of his college career, to be at the doorstep of the College Football Playoff is something special.

But speculation quickly popped up that something else was going on.

Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb was asked at a news conference on Monday if Penix is fully healthy as the team readies for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

“Yeah, he’s good,” Grubb responded. “He was a little under the weather at the end of the game but it wasn’t… He’s good.”

Grubb said when he found Penix after the game, the Husky quarterback was frustrated with his play. Particularly on the last drive, with Washington pushing to set up the game-winning kick from Gross, Penix was nearly intercepted on two different throws.

“I’m sure he was just praying for Grady and hoping for the best,” Grubb said of Penix not watching the kick. “There’s a lot of pressure on these kids, man. They’re awesome kids and they love what they do out there and they want to do their best. … I think there’s a piece there where they feel that, and in a moment like that, I’m sure that it’s incredibly emotional. That probably wore on Mike as much as it did any of the guys.”

Added head coach Kalen DeBoer: “I think Michael has a heart of gold. He just cares so much. He wants it for his teammates more than he wants it for himself. He wants it for this community.”

Penix made the play of the game several snaps before Gross got his opportunity. On a fourth-and-1 inside UW’s 30-yard-line, Washington dialed up a triple option concept that called on Penix to read the edge and choose between a dive to Dillon Johnson or a flip behind him to Rome Odunze coming on an end-around.

Penix played it perfectly.

Grubb also pointed to the 21-yard touchdown throw to Odunze at the end of the third quarter that put UW up 21-14 as just the latest example of Penix — who may not be operating at the same ridiculous level he was at the beginning of the season — continuing to raise his play to meet the moment.

“I think he’s just continuing to learn what those tight games provide him as a quarterback and how he has to just keep throwing punches and when it gets tough and frustrating, that’s when he’s got to continue to be his best,” Grubb said.

Now, the attention shifts to Oregon. Washington will play for a Pac-12 championship and a trip to the CFP on Friday night in Las Vegas. Penix can also make one last case before Heisman voters. Grubb’s message to Penix this week? As difficult as it may be, box out all the extra. Focus on Oregon.

“I told him to just lose himself in the prep,” Grubb said. “Focus on playing a fun football game against a team that he’s already played and beaten twice. Just lose yourself in that and have fun with it.”