Written by Andrew Walker
Will this happen again? Probably not. Will the Hoosiers study this game and figure out what worked well and what didn’t? Absolutely. The Hoosiers put down the Panthers by the largest margin of victory in the history of Memorial Stadium. With Indiana moving to 2-0 in preparation for the Ohio State game, let’s take a look at five takeaways from Saturday.
Defense was great
The Hoosiers listened to the criticism of the Ball State game, and improved. Holding the opposing team to a bagel on the scoreboard is no easy task, even if that team isn’t an FBS team. Kane Wommack received the game ball for his efforts in keeping the Panthers to 116 total yards of offense. EIU only averaged 2.1 yards per play and had to punt 11 times on the day. I guess those missed tackle concerns are out the window now.
Two QB threat
Both Mike Penix and Peyton Ramsey got some valuable playing time on Saturday. Penix started the game like normal, but then once the Hoosiers were up 28-0 at the end of the second quarter, it was time for Ramsey to take over. The redshirt freshman put up impressive numbers in his 2019 season debut, completing 13-14 for 226 yards and two TD’s. Ramsey was good when he played and was aided by Ronnie Walker Jr. running 64 yards to the house on a 15-yard toss by Ramsey. Penix was good when it mattered in the beginning of the game. Penix drove the Hoosiers down the field better than anyone.
3rd down conversions
Being able to convert on third down isn’t easy. Especially when you’re third and longer than seven. Indiana just so happened to make it look easy, going 10-16 on third down conversions. EIU, however, made it look like a third down conversion was about as rare as winning the lottery. The Panthers were only able to convert 2-16 on third down. This was a huge part as to why the Hoosiers were able to keep them to so few total yards.
Rushing game was back
Stevie Scott, Sampson James, Ronnie Walker Jr. and even Mike Penix were able to spearhead the rushing attack on Saturday. The unit picked up 114 rushing yards on the day and could move the ball on the ground when needed. Being able to do that against EIU is great, but the importance of rushing the ball against an Ohio State team that held the Cincinnati Bearcats to zero points is life or death for the Hoosiers next weekend.
Ability to execute
From a casual fan’s perspective, the issue with Indiana Football for the past few years has been the inability to execute when it matters. Whether it would be a lost possession late in the third quarter when the Hoosiers are up, ultimately leading to a loss, or settling for a field goal more than you should, that as the main point of contention. This year, however, I don’t see that characteristic in the Hoosiers. Indiana knows how to fight, and they know how to finish in 2019. Being able to execute a play off a page in the playbook will get you 70% of the way. It’s how you use that play against a variety of different variables about the team you’re playing that’ll get you the last 30%. I see the Indiana Hoosiers understanding how to get that last 30% this year.