COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In a game that IU head coach Tom Allen deemed as a “benchmark” for his team, the Hoosiers recorded an all-important 5th win of the season at Maryland, 34-28. QB Michael Penix suffered an injury early in the ballgame, and did not return after the 13:21 mark of the 2nd quarter. Peyton Ramsey filled in ably and, while it looked less exciting, he guided the Hoosiers to a crucial win.
Penix started the game hot, spreading the ball to five receivers. He completed 6 of his first 8 passes, and he punctuated his first drive with a gorgeous TD to Donavan Hale. In the first stanza, Penix took multiple hits, and TV cameras caught him favoring his shoulder at the end of the period.
After an interception by Antoine Brooks, Jr. that thwarted a potential scoring drive, Allen pulled Penix from the game and inserted Ramsey.
IU had a number of defensive issues throughout the first half. After Penix’s TD to Hale, Maryland rebounded instantly, tying the game on an 8-play, 75-yard drive. The Terrapins tallied 239 total yards in the first half, and averaged a robust 8.0 yards per play. Penalties plagued IU throughout the first quarter, as the Hoosiers had five, costing them 60 yards. IU ended up with 11 on the game.
Ramsey took over for Indiana and while the deep passes came far less frequently, he still put up fairly healthy numbers against a Big Ten defense. He threw a touchdown to Nick Westbrook before halftime, as the senior WR made a highlight-reel catch down the sideline to secure the six. Ramsey finished with a line of 20-27, for 193 yards, a TD, which resulted in a QB rating of 146.3.
After halftime, IU emphasized running the football more than they did in the first half. Stevie Scott, who did not have even 50 yards at halftime, finished with 108 on the game, and 2 TD.
Defensively, play-caller Kane Wommack made a number of adjustments to help Hoosiers pick things up on that side of the ball. Marcelino Ball and Jamar Johnson recorded key sacks, and the Hoosiers forced two major turnovers late in the game.
First, with 3:42 left in the 4th quarter, DB Juwan Burgess hit dynamic Maryland RB Javon Leake to force a fumble at the Indiana 16-yard line. IU could not capitalize on the big play, though, as all the offense could muster was a 34-yard field goal from Logan Justus, who maintained his perfect start to the season.
The play that clinched IU’s victory came on an interception by sophomore DB (and former Mr. Football) Reese Taylor, who nabbed a Pigrome pass with 1:00 left. Ramsey and the Hoosiers got into victory formation, and left Maryland Stadium in great spirits.
The Hoosiers hit the road to face Nebraska (4-3, 2-2 B1G) next week, in Lincoln. The game kicks off at 3:30 ET, and you can watch it on BTN.