BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Hoosiers get their seventh victory on the season with an end-to-end performance against the Northwestern Wildcats 34-3. The program ends an FBS-high of 11 straight losing seasons and they extend their Big Ten conference win streak to four, which is a first since Bill Mallory’s 1993 Independence Bowl Hoosiers.
Indiana moves to 7-2 overall on the season and 4-2 against the Big Ten.
In yet another game that started with Michael Penix Jr. and ended with Peyton Ramsey, Indiana’s defense did the majority of the work by holding Northwestern to only a single field goal from the second quarter. The Hoosiers held a struggling Northwestern offense to 112 total passing yards and 85 rushing yards.
The offense took care of business between Penix’s 162 yards that he was able to rack prior to an undisclosed injury in the second quarter. Mr. Consistency, Ramsey, had no problem marching the Hoosiers down for a single touchdown. Ramsey only needed to throw 10 times for the victory and he completed seven of those attempts.
Freshman quarterback Jack Tuttle also got game action this evening in the fourth quarter.
Hot out of the gates
Indiana applied offensive pressure early in the first game with a Logan Justus 27-yard field goal and a 2-yard Stevie Scott rush, earning a quick double-digit lead to start the game.
The Hoosiers’ defense recorded three key takeaways in the first half of the game. Tiawan Mullen forced a fumble against Northwestern quarterback Aidan Smith on the first offensive play of the game for the Wildcats (recovered by Michael Ziemba). A few drives later in the second quarter, Cam Jones forced a second Northwestern fumble on a Drake Anderson rush. With time expiring going into the interim, Hunter Johnson failed a lateral that he directly passed to Indiana’s Alfred Bryant.
Both teams with quarterback questions
Like the two games previous, quarterback questions entered today for both teams. After Ramsey’s impressive performance at Lincoln, would he get the nod? According to Tom Allen, Penix would be the starter if he was healthy, which turned out to be true.
On the Northwestern-side, talk about Hunter Johnson returning back on the field started to rise. The former Brownsburg high school and Clemson quarterback spent the past several weeks focused on his family after supporting his mother through breast-cancer treatment. On the first snaps of the game, however, Aidan Smith got the nod from coach Pat Fitzgerald, but Johnson later took over after a number of unsuccessful drives.
Penix has a different arm strength level as Ramsey. Having watched Ramsey compete in the past two games, the contrasting abilities to laser the ball into receivers was very apparent. When Penix is under center, the time for the ball to reach the receivers is cut and not insignificantly. Additionally Penix’s deep throws look effortless from the media press box perspective.
Unfortunately for the redshirt freshman, Penix entered the locker room with a trainer after a hard hit in the second quarter. At the moment, there is no official word on the injury’s details. In yet another game that Penix is unable to complete, Indiana fans are rightfully worried about his sustainability and his health.
Who better to bring in than the trusy-ole Ramsey? Peyton returned to save the day for yet another time this season.
Ramsey took the reigns and – to no one’s surprise – played an accurate and consistent game. He finished the game with 7 of 10 passing, 108 yards, and one touchdown without any interceptions.
Stevie Scott and the run game bounces back
Entering today’s contest, Stevie Scott has been quietly struggling relative to his past season. He averaged 77.6 yards per game in the previous eight contests. In part, a major reason has been Indiana’s ability to attack the air, but the offensive line has been a much more effective against the pass rush than opening gaps for their running backs.
Tonight, Indiana’s offensive line created more opportunities, which finally allowed Stevie Scott and the rest of the running back to total a sum of 144 yards. Stevie Scott had the second best game of the season with 116 yards and three touchdowns – one of them coming from a Ramsey pass.
Next Up for Indiana
Tom Allen and the Hoosiers have an opportunity to rest up and prepare for a top-10 ranked Nittany Lions team with an upcoming bye week. The team travels to Happy Valley the following Saturday on November 16, a game that currently does not have a time or television schedule announced.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ