Penix out for season with torn ACL

Michael Penix will keep his redshirt, after all.

Indiana’s freshman quarterback will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in Saturday’s loss to Penn State, IU coach Tom Allen announced on Monday. Penix, the backup to starter Peyton Ramsey, flashed the potential to become Indiana’s quarterback of the future, and whether or not he would redshirt this season or force his way onto the field was one of the central storylines to the Hoosiers’ 2018 campaign.

Now, that question has been answered.

“(It’s) a very tough thing for him to have to go through and my heart breaks for him,” Allen said.

Penix, who split snaps with Ramsey during the first half of Saturday’s game, tore his ACL at the end of a 13-yard first-down run early in the third quarter. His right knee appeared to twist awkwardly as he was hit by two Penn State defenders, and members of IU’s athletic training staff had to help Penix off the field and into the locker room for further evaluations.

Penix completed nine of his 19 throws for 94 yards against Penn State.

“It’s very upsetting,” Ramsey said. “Just to see how far he’s come along, especially since the spring, you know, it’s hard. It’s hard for anybody. So you know it’s tough. People were there, consoling him. They’re there for him. The team’s there for him. I’m here for him. I hope he knows that, and I think he does.”

Penix is the second offensive player to suffer a season-ending ACL tear. Running back Cole Gest tore his ACL during the first game of the year.

On the season, Penix completed 21 of his 34 throws for 219 yards with one touchdown. He also rushed for 45 yards on seven carries, appearing in IU’s games against Florida International, Ball State and Penn State.

Because he played in only three contests this season, Penix will keep his redshirt and have four years of eligibility moving forward. A new NCAA rule allows players to appear in up to four games while maintaining their redshirt status.

“These (types of injuries) are not what anybody wants,” Allen said. “He’s never had one before. But his faith and his family and his strength of character and his mindset will help him through this. He’ll be a better player, more mentally tough individual, and he’ll have a confidence about his ability to overcome things when this is all said and done. Not what he wants to hear right now. He’s still struggling.

“Hasn’t had surgery yet. But I guess you get to the point in some of these injuries where you just have to shoot me the truth and tell me how it’s going to be and let’s get this thing attacked head on. That’s the reality of it. He’s got a lot of hard work ahead of him.”

The goal is to have Penix ready to throw in seven-on-seven drills during spring practice. By June 1, Allen said he hopes Penix will be fully cleared to participate in summer workouts.

“That’s pretty aggressive on my part,” Allen said about the anticipated timeline. “But at the same time we’ve had those conversations. So I’m just telling you the truth.”

With Penix out of the equation, true freshman athlete Reese Taylor will be the listed backup for Friday night’s game at Minnesota.

Taylor, last year’s Indiana Mr. Football winner and a former state champion quarterback at Ben Davis, has lined up at running back, receiver and cornerback for the Hoosiers this season. He was named IU’s third quarterback in August after the departure of Brandon Dawkins, but his practice opportunities at the position have been limited primarily to drill work.

Now that he’s one play away from being needed, is Taylor ready?

“We just have to give him more things than what he’s had,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said. “We did that already (during Monday’s practice) and will continue to do that right up till game time. He did a good job with it (Monday). He’s smart. He’s a football player. He knows. He’ll do a great job with it. He’s been getting reps in practice. So he’s had those reps. He’ll be fine. We’ll get him ready.”

Even so — and given Taylor’s role as an athlete elsewhere in the offense — IU could go in a different direction at quarterback, if the need arises.

It’s likely that walk-ons Mike Fiacable and Johnny Pabst would also be under consideration should Indiana need to dip into its reserves during the upcoming weeks.


  1. IU seems to many times always lose it’s very good players. This season MP, CG, ME to mention a few. Really, enjoyed MP the small amount of time I watched him. I would like to see RT have a shot since IU staff never ending experiment with PR. Experiment with RT. It probably won’t happen unless a have to situation.

  2. This is really sad/bad news. He was so fun to watch. I wish him a speedy recovery. He is the answer at QB.

    1. I totally agree. I have great excitement for next season. But IU is not through with this season yet! Beat MN on Friday! Then beat MD for our 6 W’s! Then BeatPurdue for W 7 and then win a bowl game! All goals are in reach! Just Do It!

  3. after watching him play this weekend…I will never understand why he didn’t start from the beginning or at least last weekend. I hope the best for him and am excited to see him play next year. He throws an accurate ball with a lot of zip on it…love it!

  4. Giant middle finger to the whole coaching staff for not playing Penix from early in the season.
    No “pass out”…..? The boredom experienced in watching a shackled offense attempt to utilize deep threat football under Ramsey was enough to make any fan drink to a state of “passing out.”

    Agree with everything J “Grand Scoop Poobah” Pat suggests above.

    And now for something completely different….

  5. It is bad news about Penix. He gave me hope the coaches would see the change he brought on the field and play him more. He shows that IU has a QB to take IU to a higher level in the B1G. Playing Penix this year would have given better receivers a reason to come to IU. I have disagreed with coach’s decision to start Ramsey but now that is a mute point.

  6. Shows lack of confidence and scared/timid coaching staff (head coach) to take talent and go. The time is now instead of preserving for future. I understand importance of character, leadership, and intangibles but also important is ability. T.A. is imbalanced in this area as ability is a tangible and the intangibles (leadership and character can be nurtured by coaching) plus from what it looked like to me Penix was a good guy. Enrolled early, never heard complaining from him in outside….just a phony sales job by T.A. that limited playing time for Penix.

    1. As soon as I saw Penix on the ground almost quivering in pain, I was confident his season was over. Such a shame and to think what this team might have accomplished if he had played a more meaningful role earlier in the season.

      A question for V or anyone out there that watched RT in high school. How strong is his arm compared to PR? Could he throw the ball 50 or 60 yards in high school? Will TA give him some snaps against Minny since he has already burned his red shirt and has barely made any meaningful contributions to the team so far? For being the best player in the state last year, he has certainly been under utilized.

      It is really bad when a major college football team doesn’t have someone who can throw the ball 60 yards down field to at least give the team a chance for a miracle catch in the end zone on the last play of the game.

  7. Penix strong arm was evidence in HS. I am sure the reason for having him red-shirted was about the problem with the QB room. Penix being red-shirt was a way to balance the room so there was two season between the QB. I didn’t like doing that and thinking about this season and have a better QB on the field would have been a better choice.

  8. As season started qb competition should have been between Dawkins, Taylor, and Penix. Ramsey could have started a game or two but then he could have been a backup when needed. T. A. the immature coach thought he was taking his time by waiting to announce his starting qb within week before first game. Brohm/Purdue announces his qb about game day and also stated he may play both which after rough start he changed qb. Not T.A. His man was Ramsey and T.A. and DeBord centered offense for Ramsey. That’s where you have to run about 12 to 15 mistake free successful plays each drive you score. In reality what you get in PR is a Mac conference qb struggling to survive and IU offense getting beat up. Since day one I always thought Reese Taylor would be IU qb before it was said and done. Then, Penix came along. However, espn star rating is about same for MP and RT. Size brings RT rating down a little.

  9. You may still be seeing Reese Taylor soon….We are already down two of our most talented quarterbacks (Dawkins and Penix) and we have Michigan still on the schedule. Ramsey gets his bell rung and we become very thin.
    Hell, before all is said and done, Allen’s son may be taking some snaps.

  10. Well, at least T.A. has saved Penix’s red shirt. Now Reese stops playing on the field so we protect our emergency QB and Ramsey will be “encouraged” to minimize the risk of injury. Another FUBAR season for IU Football.

    1. No one, certainly not Coach Allen, “saved Penix’s redshirt”! What an idiotic comment. Football is a collision sport. Injuries are part of it. No one wants a gifted athlete to suffer an injury, ever!

      1. BeatPurdue- You honestly read his post and thought he’s accusing TA of trying to get Penix injured? That is what you HONESTLY thought? Not because you wanted to take a cheap shot. No, because you read the post and came to the one and only conclusion that Podunker is accusing TA of trying to get his quarterback hurt? You thought that with your IU education?

  11. t, did the pass against Penn cover 60+ yards in the air, or was that the combined pass/run yardage? I was just curious as to RT’s arm strength vs that of PR. Also, when in hs, did his passes have zip on them or were they mainly low velocity like PR’s?

    It may be impossible for someone RT’s size to survive a whole season in the B10 at QB, but hell, we only have 4 games left. I have always followed AF football as one of my sons was a recruited athlete and graduated from there. They hardly ever have a QB much above 5’10” and weighing more than 175 lbs. I remember watching AF upset ND in SB in 1996 with just such a qb and they almost beat Tennessee in Knoxville several years ago with another small qb. Amazingly, their small qb’s and running backs seem to hold up pretty well, even when they play the big boys. Same goes for Army and Navy.

    I sure would like to see RT get a few snaps against Minny.

    1. I’d say there’s a great chance you’ll see RT get some snaps at QB moving forward.

  12. No, pass was not 64 yards in air. Probably about 25 yards in air. Taylor throws strikes faster and more accurately than PR. He puts receivers in positions to make plays. He can go about 30 yards downfield with velocity from what I seen. He is very athletic cat like quick and can make plays and would add another running threat in backfield. Highly intelligent qb. He is special with right coaching.

  13. Taylor should start or be quarterback if Ramsey Boggs offense down one time. If offense boggs down two times close together RT should be playing qb. Ramsey should be subbing for him when needed. Then, you would see what Taylor is all about.

  14. Ralph Taylor Indianapolis Washington Continentals 6’2” played forward at Purdue and he was a star. Back in the day.

  15. Basically what everyone is saying on this sights is that Tom Allen and the Indiana coaching staff totally mishandle the quarterback positions. Makes you wonder how good or bad Brandon Dawkins really was. Especially if they could not see that Mike Penix was the (quarterback with the most upside) quarterback that should have been starting at the beginning of the season. Brandon Dawkins should have been the starter and Mike Penix the backup from day one. Indiana game at Minnesota takes on a must win situation, if Indiana is to have any chance of making it to a bowl game. Win or lost depends on the conditions of Minnesota starting quarterback. Can or will Jeff Brohm be the coach of the year in the BIG TEN??

    1. Although I didn’t agree with it, I get why Penix didn’t start day one. Dawkins on the other hand, (besides his mental health issues) really couldn’t beat out Ramsey.

  16. Brohm is coach of the year regardless.
    Whole IU offense has been mishandled with qb handicap and philosophy in coaching around qb limitations.

  17. BeatPurdue, you made me laugh out loud! How ironic that you called my previous post “idiotic.”

    Take a deep breath, big guy.

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