If seeing Peyton Ramsey enter the game in the second quarter at Maryland gave you doubts, well, that’s reasonable.
If you are like me, the concerns weren’t so much about Ramsey as they were about what Indiana was losing when redshirt freshman Michael Penix left the game with what appeared to be a re-aggravation of a throwing shoulder injury.
Penix is just that good.
And when Ramsey replaced Penix on Saturday, he was just that good.
The Hoosiers didn’t miss a beat when the redshirt junior entered the game, as Ramsey went 20-for-27 passing for 197 yards and a touchdown. The Ohio native added eight carries for 47 yards as he led IU to their fifth win in seven tries on the season.
Penix has set the bar high on the season, and he had IU rolling with 14 quick points out of the gate on Saturday.
The Hoosiers appeared to be on their way for a third score when Penix accurately delivered a ball that was perhaps a bit too hot. The pass deflected off the hands of tight end Peyton Hendershot and into the waiting arms of a Maryland defender for a touchback.
Penix was 9-for-14 for 141 yards and a touchdown to go with the interception.
Quarterback runs were clearly part of the game plan against the Terps as Penix ran four times for 35 yards in just over a quarter of action. The Tampa product was injured on a hit to his throwing shoulder delivered while he was escaping the pocket late in the first quarter. Penix returned for the next drive (which resulted in the interception) but did not return after that.
While Ramsey’s arm strength is no match for Penix, he accounted for himself quite well on the afternoon. Coming into the game cold, on the road, and with the momentum shifting towards Maryland, Ramsey looked in control from the start.
Ramsey led IU on a 12 play, 77 yard drive when he entered the game resulting in a Logan Justus field goal. Later he engineered an 8 play, 63 yard drive that was capped off by a beautiful ball thrown to a diving Nick Westbrook in the end zone for the touchdown and a 24-21 halftime lead.
Peyton Ramsey's number was called after @IndianaFootball QB Michael Penix left the game, and Nick Westbrook helped him out with a phenomenal catch.#BTNStandout x @AutoOwnersIns pic.twitter.com/LAsacQRhNb
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 19, 2019
“Just so proud of Peyton Ramsey,” IU head coach Tom Allen said after the game. “What an absolute awesome young man. He was ready to play when called upon. This has been tough on him, but he’s the ultimate team player.”
HOOSIER DEFENSE MAKES THE RIGHT SECOND HALF ADJUSTMENTS
After allowing 21 points, 12 first downs and 239 yards in the first half, something had to change for IU’s defense.
Tom Allen and defensive coordinator Kane Wommack had the answers.
Indiana allowed just 7 points and 144 yards in the second half, providing just enough resistance to claim IU’s first road victory of the season. Maryland managed to convert a 3rd and 17 on their only scoring drive after halftime.
The Hoosiers struggled with Maryland’s first half tempo, but after the break IU forced three straight punts to open the second segment with better coverage in one-on-one situations and improved penetration at the line of scrimmage.
IU was able to produce two second half sacks (Jamar Johnson / Marcelino Ball) and also created two critical takeaways in the game’s final minutes to seal the victory.
With 3:42 on the clock and Indiana clinging to a tenuous 31-28 lead, defensive back Juwan Burgess stripped the ball from Javon Leake and then fell on it for a fumble recovery at the Maryland 15 yard line.
Minutes later on the Terrapins last drive of the game, sophomore cornerback Reese Taylor intercepted Maryland’s Tyrrell Pigrome to clinch the victory.
The interception that sealed the win for @IndianaFootball!
You could say @CoachAllenIU and the team were pretty fired up! pic.twitter.com/UH7ZAwPpfU
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) October 19, 2019
Indiana’s defense has been up and down thus far in 2019, giving up 0, 51, 3, 40, and 0 points in their last five games prior to Maryland.
They were up and down once again against the Terps on Saturday.
But IU finished up, and a strong second half by the young unit helped clinch this one.
STEVIE SCOTT RETURNING TO 2018 FORM
Sophomore running back Stevie Scott was 0-for-the-season.
After six 100 yard games in 2018, including four in his last five contests, Scott failed to reach 100 yards in Indiana’s first five games of 2019.
Scott broke out of his funk with a 164 yard game last weekend against Rutgers, and the New York product added another 108 yards against Maryland on Saturday.
.@Steviescott8_ is rumbling for @IndianaFootball today: pic.twitter.com/1rfIESB4W6
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) October 19, 2019
Scott has generated the 272 yards in the last two games on just 30 carries. That’s good for more than 9 yards per tote.
It is worth noting that Scott’s production has ticked up despite the loss of senior tackle Coy Cronk for the season in week four. Senior center Hunter Littlejohn also left the Rutgers game early and did not play against Maryland.
Scott picked up 50 of his yards during one third quarter drive. The drive ended in a Scott touchdown and gave IU a 31-21 lead.
Scott now has 537 yards on the 2019 season.
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