Written by Evan McShane
Indiana broke a school record for largest margin of victory at Memorial Stadium with a 52-0 beatdown of Eastern Illinois. It was the largest shutout win in 75 years, when Indiana defeated Nebraska 54-0 in 1944. As with most blowouts, the Hoosiers were able to utilize the new transfer rules (allowing a player to appear in four collegiate games and still retain redshirt status). Indiana was able to get their young players some playing time. All three quarterbacks played significant minutes, eight different running backs carried the ball, and a whopping 12 different wide receivers made at least one catch, with 10 guys catching more than one pass. Saturday’s game was exactly what you want to see as an Indiana football fan.
The Hoosiers wasted no time getting started, scoring touchdowns on each of their first three drives. Quarterback Michael Penix was humming in the first half. He completed 14-of-20 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. During his postgame interview, Penix explained the benefit of having game film from last week to study. "Just knowing everything, just staying in the film room, we got a lot sharper. We only had one game film to watch, so we studied that until we couldn't anymore,” he said. “We are definitely in the film room a lot, paying attention to all the little details, and make sure we come out and execute." IU took the opening kickoff and put together an impressive 10-play, 59-yard touchdown drive ending in an effortless pitch and catch from Penix to Miles Marshall:
Indiana followed up that effort with another efficient drive, this one 9 plays and 68 yards. Offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer opened things up with a steady balance of run and pass. The Hoosiers’ second drive included this beautiful third down conversion from Penix to Whop Philyor, a laser of a pass and impressive diving grab:
Stevie Scott would find the end zone for a five-yard touchdown plunge to make it 14-0. Scott ended his day with 12 carries for 61 yards, a respectable 5.1 yards-per-carry average. Whop Philyor is going to find himself on a lot of highlight reels if he continues to make eye-popping plays like he did on Saturday. "As a receiver, that's what we do, our team motto is 'consistent playmakers have contagious energy', so we try to bring energy to the team as much as we can," he said. Whop would finish the day with four catches for 75 yards. On the third drive of the game, IU scored in just two plays thanks to this incredible run after the catch from Philyor, breaking seven tackles and firing up the crowd:
Cole Gest finished that 2-play drive off with a 3-yard touchdown run, his first score since returning from ACL surgery. After two three-and-outs, Penix came back for his final drive of the day. It would also be his longest, comprising of 10 plays for 80-yards. Peyton Hendershot secured his first touchdown of the season with an 8-yard TD catch from Penix. Hendershot had five receptions for 52 yards on the day. With the score 28-0, it was Peyton Ramsey’s turn to get some reps. On his first play of the 2019 season, Ramsey dumped off a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Ronnie Walker, who used his blazing speed to take it 64-yards down the sideline and into the end zone.
In the second half, Ramsey continued his big day with a 43-yard touchdown strike to Donovan Hale to make it 42-0. Hale completed his first-career game with over 100 receiving yards on five receptions for 110 and a score. Ramsey finished the game a remarkable 13-of-14 for 226 yards and two touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Tuttle got to lead a few drives. While the Hoosiers were trying to run out the clock, Tuttle only attempted seven passes, completing three for 18 yards. Nevertheless, it was good experience for the young QB who hopes to factor into this team’s future.
Indiana would finish the game with 555 yards of total offense, led by 441 yards through the air and 114 on the ground. Perhaps the only critique of the Hoosier offense was a lackluster running game. IU only managed 3.4 yards-per-carry on 34 rushing attempts against a much smaller defensive line. Simply put, that won’t get it done against Big Ten teams. All else was positive for the Hoosiers, however. Indiana hopes to replicate this offensive performance as they begin conference play next week. With Ohio State coming to town, the Hoosier offense must be firing on all cylinders.