Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo did their college quarterbacking at Eastern Illinois.
But probably neither the former Dallas Cowboy four-time Pro Bowler, nor the current San Francisco 49er starter would have been enough to save the alma mater Saturday.
Indiana scored a touchdown on its first three drives to open the game, and tacked on two in the final 1:44 of the first half enroute to a 52-0 romp over the Panthers in the Hoosiers’ home opener.
IU quarterback Michael Penix, making his first start at Memorial Stadium, came out looking sharp.
The Tampa, Fla. native went 5-of-7 on the first drive, finding five different receivers. Penix capped it off with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Miles Marshall, giving the redshirt freshman his first career touchdown reception.
Marshall was one of twelve different receivers to catch a pass on the day, and the group was happy to see the ball getting distributed to several different options.
“Coach DeBoer does a good job of getting everyone involved,” tight end Peyton Hendershot said after the game. “Mike doesn’t have one main guy. He thinks anyone can make a play for him.”
Indiana’s next two scores would come on the ground.
Sophomore running back Stevie Scott ran a five-yard sweep to the left to find the endzone. Scott now has made it seven consecutive games with a touchdown.
Three minutes later Cole Gest would get on the board with a touchdown run up the middle, making it 21 to 0 IU, and the rout was on.
Gest’s score was set up by a spectacular effort by Whop Philyor, who twice spun out of multiple tackle attempts for a 29-yard pass play that carried IU to the Panther three yard line. Philyor had already supplied a diving catch for a 33-yard completion on the previous possession.
The Hoosier defense came out strong as well, holding Eastern Illinois (0-2) to minus five yards while getting two sacks in the first quarter.
“Coach Wommack was telling us from the jump we were going to come out swinging.” IU defensive end James Head said “We were going to keep them there, keep our foot on their neck throughout the whole game.”
Special teams did their bit in the opening period too, with Aaron Casey blocking a punt and setting the Hoosier offense up at Eastern Illinois 32-yard line.
It was a complete team effort in the first quarter, and the second quarter didn’t go much better for the Panthers.
The Hoosiers (2-0) put two more scores on the board. Penix found Hendershot for an eight-yard score. Then redshirt junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey, found his way on the field for the first time this year as IU began to make substitutions.
Ramsey didn’t waste any time making an impact, completing his first pass to Ronnie Walker for a 67-yard touchdown run down the sideline on a swing pass.
Ramsey started the second half and picked up right where he left off, hitting senior wideout Donavan Hale for a 43-yard touchdown catch.
Hale would finish the game with 110 receiving yards, making it his first career 100-yard game.
Before Ramsey was done, he’d complete 13 of 14 passes, good for a .929 completion percentage (a program single-game record), and a game-high 226 yards.
The fourth quarter would present a slew of career firsts for the Hoosiers.
At the 13:28 mark freshman running back Sampson James would get his inaugural career touchdown with a one-yard run.
“It made me really happy,” Penix said when asked about his new teammates getting their first scores. “Cole got his first of the year. Miles Marshall, Sampson James, they all were excited. They were all super hyped.”
Jack Tuttle, a redshirt freshman transfer from Utah, took his first snaps as a quarterback for Indiana in the final quarter.
The Hoosiers’ only field goal of the game would come from its backup kicker, Charles Campbell, who would make his first career boot from 48 yards.
That kick created the final margin with 11:54 left, as the Hoosiers mercifully did no further damage.
It was a fitting day to celebrate the Hoosiers 1979 Holiday Bowl championship team, because next week will be no holiday.
The Hoosiers will host defending Big Ten champion and No. 5-ranked Ohio State.
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no additional cost to you.