Written by Amanda Pavelka (@AmandaPavelka3)
The competition has ramped up for Indiana football quicker than usual going into week three. The Hoosiers will go from facing the lowest-ranked opponent on the 2019 season to the most difficult—the No. 6 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
While producing a massive 52-0 victory over Eastern Illinois last Saturday, Indiana displayed a promising offense, and improved defense—talented enough to shutout the Panthers completely.
“Overall it was a confidence booster to go out there, clean up stuff, and produce a shutout which is very hard to do, no matter who you’re playing,” senior linebacker Reakwon Jones told the media Monday.
Saturday’s true test is against an elite defensive line that unlike Eastern Illinois, boasts guys more than qualified for the job— seven of 11 top defensive linemen returning from 2018’s Big Ten and Rose Bowl Champion squad.
“Going into this game, we always know they have a stout defensive line of athletic guys, big guys,” senior offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak said, “so just preparing this week at practice and taking everything seriously and making sure our craft is in tip-top shape for this game is crucial.”
In his third game as quarterback one, there’s a heavy weight placed on redshirt freshman Michael Penix’s shoulders to be the difference-maker in IU’s 26-game losing streak to the Buckeyes. Ohio State is known for their pass rushing game, and for Penix, it’s not the main focus going into Saturday’s game.
“I trust my offensive line, believe in everything with the offense, that Coach DeBoer’s going to put us in the right situations,” Penix told the media on Monday, “I feel like that’s not something we’re worried about right now, we’re just worried about what we need to execute on the offensive side of the ball.”
Ohio State’s stacked depth won their battle last year. IU ran out of steam on both sides of the ball and fell out of the game after halftime, succumbing to the Buckeyes 49-26.
Penix prepares for the biggest game of his college career so far with the 1-0 mentality:
“Every single day we work hard, not because of who it is, but because it’s our next game, our next opportunity to get better and show the world that Indiana is on the rise.”