If you were a Hoosier fan, busy all day, and checked the final score of the game on your phone after it ended, you probably would have said, “Great win!” That was far from the truth.
In a laborious performance that at times seemed more like a chore than a football game, No. 12 Indiana (5-1) did what they had to do in a 27-11 victory over Maryland (2-2). Also, much to the dismay of Indiana fans, star QB Michael Penix Jr., who missed parts of seven games last season, suffered an injury in the second half.
It was hard to expect the Hoosiers to have the same explosive performance that they had in the second half last week against Ohio St. A noon start at home created the ideal “trap game” setting, with the Terrapins sandwiched in between matchups against two Big Ten powerhouses. Still, Penix Jr. completing just two of his 15 first-half pass attempts or emerging WR Ty Fryfogle recording no catches until the third quarter stunned everyone tuning into this contest.
“LEO Indiana” – Ultrasoft Tri-Blend T-Shirt$24.95 – $29.95
In a second half drive, Penix faked a handoff and scampered down the right sideline for a run that officially gained 21 yards. As he was brought down out of bounds, the TV audio caught Penix yelling in pain. He slowly limped off the field after getting assistance from medical personnel. Additional information has still yet to be released on Penix’s condition.
The Terrapins began the game with a efficient opening drive, in which starting QB Taulia Tagovailoa marched his offense down to the IU 13-yard line. He completed passes to Brian Cobbs, Dontay Demus, and Darryl Jones, but the possession fizzled out when Tagovailoa overthrew an open Demus in the corner of the end zone. Kicker Joseph Petrino missed the ensuing 29-yard FG, and the Hoosiers defense was bailed out to start the game.
There was a clear directive from coach Tom Allen and OC Nick Sheridan to run the ball in this afternoon’s contest. IU ran the ball ten times in the first quarter to just five passes, although the carries yielded just 3.3 yard per carry. In the second quarter, IU’s nine carries resulted in 7.7 per tote. Freshman RB Tim Baldwin used his shiftiness and explosiveness; also WR David Ellis and RB Stevie Scott took direct snap handoffs to try catching the Maryland defense off guard. Overall, the Hoosiers ran for 234 yards, topping their previous season-high of 118, which came against Michigan.
IU held merely a 7-3 lead at the intermission. After the break, the Hoosiers drove down the field on 12 plays, only for Scott to get stopped on a 4th-and-2 carry inside the five. An exciting play followed the miss to spark Indiana. LB D.K. Bonhomme brought down Tagovailoa in the end zone for IU’s first safety of the season. Bonhomme had his best game as a Hoosier, which helps as Indiana continues finding a replacement for Thomas Allen. Bonhomme finished with four tackles on the day.
Backup QB Jack Tuttle ran a reliable, vanilla offense to run out the clock. The redshirt sophomore finished 5-for-5, as Sheridan had him roll out a couple times to find Peyton Hendershot and Whop Philyor. Tuttle’s first pass was on a two-point conversion to Hendershot to increase IU’s lead to 17-3, even though it didn’t go down as a completion in the record books.
IU’s defense turned the screws even tighter in the conclusion of the contest. Tagovailoa found Dontay Demus for a 43-yard score in garbage time, but three total interceptions, three sacks, and big hits helped seal IU’s fifth win of the season.
Up next: No. 12 Indiana hits the road to take on No. 16 Wisconsin on Saturday. The game will kick off at 2:30 PM ET, and will be televised on ABC.
Featured Image: Indiana University Athletics