Penix will be ‘gameday decision’ for OSU

Indiana will head into its first Big Ten game with uncertainty at quarterback.

IU coach Tom Allen said post-practice Thursday that redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr. will be a game-time decision for Saturday’s noon kick with No. 6 Ohio State. He was not specific about the nature of Penix’s injury, but Allen said he was confident it wouldn’t be a long-term issue.

Penix was not injured during the Eastern Illinois game, according to Allen.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Allen said. “I think it’s just something that he said wasn’t feeling right. I don’t want to get too specific on anything exactly, but it was not during the game.”

Penix has played well in his first two starts, albeit against lesser foes than Ohio State. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound passer has completed 38-of-60 throws for 523 yards and three scores in wins over Ball State and EIU. Pro Football Focus has awarded OSU’s Justin Fields and Penix the Big Ten’s best quarterback grades through two weeks of play.

If Penix is unable to go, the Hoosiers will once again be led by redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey, who was just supplanted as the starter during a three-man competition at fall camp.

The native of Cincinnati, Ohio, has started 16 games and is the program’s all-time leader in completion percentage. In fact, Ramsey just set a single-game completion percentage record against EIU in relief of Penix, connecting on 13 of his 14 passes for 226 yards and two scores.

After the EIU game, Allen said he put Ramsey in before the first half ended to give his veteran signal caller a chance to run a two-minute drill. Only the drive ended quickly. Ronnie Walker took a swing pass 64 yards for a score on the very first play.

Still, Ramsey’s reps last week may prove invaluable, because all three of the Hoosiers’ quarterbacks have been learning first-year offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer’s scheme.

“Didn’t even know at the time, but it’s worked out really good for us, for him,” Allen said. “It’s important. I knew he needed to get reps regardless. The bottom line is he’s played a lot of football, but it is a new system. That’s why I wanted to get him a lot last week.”

In the weeks since Penix was named the starter, Allen has been effusive in his praise of Ramsey and how he has handled his backup role. Redshirt freshman Jack Tuttle, who got into the EIU game, as well, will also have to be ready if Penix is sidelined.

“Bottom line is you never know,” Allen said. “That’s why I said in the beginning, even when we made the (quarterback) decision, you never know how things are going to play out, and when I sat down with those guys, I said you have to be ready every single week, you never know when you are going to get called upon.”

Allen reiterated he doesn’t believe Penix’s injury will be a long-term issue. Penix has practiced “a little bit” this week, Allen said, and has been rehabbing.

In other injury news, sophomore linebacker Cam Jones, who was out versus EIU, is expected to play versus Ohio State. Jones was spotted on the sideline last Saturday wearing a boot.

Allen referenced Jones’ quick recovery in speaking about Penix, who has already worked his way back from an ACL injury that shortened his true freshman campaign to three games.

“Just that whole idea of embracing the process of rehab is a very hard thing for some young guys,” Allen said. “That’s going to be critical for (Penix) and anyone else that gets dinged up. As every week passes, more guys get dinged up.

“It’s never a negative thing to live in that training room. It’s how you get healthy, it’s how you get better, it’s how you help your team, and it’s how you take care of your body. We are teaching our guys that. He will. He’ll respond.”

Regardless of who starts behind center, the Hoosiers will have to run the ball better to relieve pressure on the passing game. IU has rushed for 131 yards per contest, which currently ranks 12th in the Big Ten.

“Anytime you play a team of this caliber, both phases, the run game and the pass game, have got to be effective,” Allen said. “If you become one-dimensional, it makes it really tough.”

Ramsey has had recent success against Ohio State. He completed 26-of-49 passing for 322 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s 49-26 loss. It was 28-20, OSU, at halftime, but the Hoosiers were outscored 14-0 in the final quarter.

Allen said he didn’t feel like the Hoosiers would have to modify their offense with Ramsey at quarterback, should he have to play Saturday.

“They are very similar quarterbacks skillset-wise,” Allen said. “That’s the good part about it, we can just be who we are and run our offense.”


  1. How many times have I said I’m concerned about his ability to physically sustain at this level?
    And how many times were most of you brushing off my statements and saying you had absolutely no worries about Penix staying healthy?

    There are a ton of experts on here….There are also delusional hype artists selling talent as if performance happens in some sort of protective bubble.

    And our coach? Spin doctor. Ramsey is a fine young man. He’s also never going to be the sort of quarterback to guide this program into the explosive and dynamic elements of performance necessary to achieve our coach’s favorite milestone/goal known as “breakthrough.”

    I hope Penix can go Saturday……but should he? Ball State and Eastern Illinois …and some practices have already created a possible setback?

    Have any of you changed your position which flippantly discounted my concerns for his longevity in a brutal division of the BigTen?

    1. Okay H4H,
      You had good reason to be concerned, but until we know the full nature of the condition, it is a little early to be reading too much into it at this point. It could be nothing more than a stinger or it could be something more serious. Hard to say at this point. However, before we get too carried away about the “brutal division” of the B1G, you know where I’m going with this.

      There was a little fellow who played for a little ole school in Texas called A&M a few years ago. Obviously he had his own set of problems, but not on the field for A&M. If you do a little research you will find he wasn’t as big as Penix when he jumped to the NFL. Of course now I am sure the division competition level he was at in college was no where near that of the “brutal division” of the B1G!!! You know you only have little ole light weight FB schools like Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Mississippi State. Last time the least of that list played a B1G East “heavyweight” called Michigan, they literally blew them off the field in the Gator Bowl a few years back.

      Just a few thoughts.

      1. As I’ve said many times, “big” doesn’t just mean overall weight or height. It’s bone structure as well. Can a guy’s bone structure comfortably hold more weight and mass?
        I don’t think I’ve ever seen a qb with wrists as small as Penix’s….Not sure if the ankles and knees are also ‘Ken doll’ sized, but from my glimpses at photos, he simply doesn’t have much of a frame to build off. He has height…That height may create deceptions if looking at just roster poundage numbers.
        It doesn’t speak to bone structure/sturdiness and if his bones/ligaments can take the pounding.

        I also thought he ran too much against the cupcakes….Didn’t make much sense. Establish some running game from our backs and utilized his gifts with the arm. I guess they wanted to test him. I guess they found out.

        I actually hope he sits against OSU….even if cleared. I never agreed with Zander being put at unnecessary risk (simply because he had the speed to run)…nor do I believe it’s wise to do so with Penix.

        1. I share your concerns H4H,
          However, go back and look at some pictures of Johnny Manziel, not as sturdy as one might think. Yet he was able to play in the SEC West quite well, and that was against some literally terrifying defenses known for taking QBs out. Just ask the University of Texas and Colt McCoy.

          1. I never based much of what I thought on comparisons….a) How do you compare the protection and the weapons(taking some stresses off a qb) at a place like Indiana compared to your top SEC football schools? b) What programs are as desperate as Indiana to prove they even belong on the same field with a top program? Simply being behind that 8 Ball puts a qb at Indiana in a different world. We are not getting 5-star defensive players…and the best of the best offensive lineman…nor the running backs to take stresses of the qb deemed as a “playmaker.”

            Just think it’s far from ideal for a qb at a bottom-feeder already facing resiliency and the ability to withstand hits issues.

            Where is Manziel these days…? Sadly, I don’t even know or care. I’ve seen many a qb from top college programs projected to be the next superstar of the NFL and it just never happens. Somehow, the college game is still different….All those gifts possessed by Jay Cutler. Rex Grossman tearing it up in college and, basically, sucking on the Bears(and certainly sucking in a Super Bowl). All that promise in Andrew Luck. Carson Wentz and the injury bug. It ain’t easy holding up or being much more than a passing comet….

            At the end of the day, few were taking my questions about Penix’s resiliency seriously. All I heard was “he’ll be fine”..or “I have no concerns.” And here we are…barely getting out of the gate for the 2019 season and he’s already “questionable” against a team standing like the ‘Great Wall of China’ in Allen’s “breakthrough.”

      2. And if Penix is 202…as stated in Blau’s piece, then Blau is 245 and soon to be a walk-on inside linebacker.

  2. Didn’t take long for IU to join PU with its own injury issues. Everyone, talked about how deep IU is at qb position. I have said this many times that IU now has a legitimate stable of qbs, but not necessarily deep. It is just what is needed. This is what it looks like. Capable backups.

  3. This puts a damper on things. Ramsey and Tuttle need to be ready, and the entire team will need to ratchet up their game to an even higher level.

  4. Hate to see this as MP has worked hard to overcome knee injury. If in fact it is tied to his ACL injury, may need to take a long hard look at whether the B10 is physically in his best interest.

  5. Hope he’s ready to go Saturday. Huge blow to IU’s chances if he’s not.

    This has been my one and only concern about Penix, and it’s not really connected to last year’s knee injury. Penix just seems a bit fragile to me. I hold my breath every time he takes off on a run. Maybe it’s because he’s so thin (in relative terms) or because he’s still very young (just turned 19). I don’t know why, and I admit it is a bit irrational, but ever since he’s been named the starter, my only concern about Penix has been his durability.

    1. Something doesn’t feel right and you want him to give’er a go against OSU? Keep him in street clothes and don’t even think about dressing him.

      1. Agree…And haven’t we had a previous coach who faced massive scrutiny for allegedly not taking injuries seriously? And isn’t said previous coach now the OC for the team we really need Penix to play against? Oh, the irony….Where is Fred now? Fred should be sending some nasty emails to Allen and put a quick stop to any suggestion that Penix should take the field against the strongest team in our conference…while something “doesn’t feel right.”

  6. Wow…Talk about taking a ‘position’ as if it’s something new on Scoop while not acknowledging its been nothing new from yours truly.

    thinkaboutit- Clue him in….on the dozens of times this has been my utmost concern with Penix (from his pencil-like overall frame down to his tree frog wrists). Wow…just wow.

  7. JT needs to be ready. I also go back to Reese Taylor. Again, I repeat IU is not that deep at qb. As season goes along if one qb (may be getting ahead of myself) has nagging issues, and one goes down with a more major injury in IU case that leaves PR OR JT depending who might have an issue. Though the odds of all 3 IU qbs not being able to play may be somewhat slim (however it is IU football), by November RT would become IU qb.

  8. RT could be pressed into becoming the emergency QB, but that would not be good for the young man’s future. RT’s best opportunity to play at the next level is at a position other than quarterback, either DB or slot receiver. And I think he knows that and would therefore see spending time in practice at QB as a delay or setback to his progress in mastering those positions.

  9. Maybe the I U Football Program has a “Snake bit” problem? I U has six QB’s on the roster and Taylor doesn’t need to be in the QB equation. You go with what QB you have Saturday and move on the sky won’t fall in Bloomington Saturday . The real problem for the posters on this site, is all of the hype coming from the I U Football Program and then two days prior to the game and the injury news comes out on your QB that was going to carry the program to greater results comes up with an injury prior to the Big Game Saturday. A side note Ohio State lost the right to use “The”, the people in Athens, Ohio are the first Ohio University.

  10. I guess it wouldn’t be an IUFB season without some fly in the ointment to create a problem in a big game. This isn’t a disaster for IU but it does reduce the odds of beating OSU. Maybe Ramsey has enough experience to find things to take advantage of going against OSU’s defense to give IU a win.

    I am more concerned with our defense slowing down OSU’s offense as they look very good this year. Their OL looks better than last year’s, their new QB is operating at the level of Haskins, and their running game is a threat once again.

    IU needs to pull it all together to have a shot at OSU. You never know what kind of game OSU will play and with a fired up Hoosier team IU could win.

  11. I get it….As if having the most notorious losing football program in the history of ALL football wasn’t quite enough to sneakily make a powerhouse packed football program like OSU come in overconfident?

    If only we went into the game without a coach….? We would surely catch them off-guard. Lord, you don’t know how many times I wished for such a decoy with our basketball team under the new Mr. Georgia.

    1. Good question, will be interesting to see. I do know we won’t face any team that has beaten us every game for a quarter century. So there’s that.

  12. If Penix is injured, why is TA announcing it to the world? Why wouldn’t he just let OSU prepare for Penix and play Ramsey? I hope this is a decoy. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. For IU to win, need to win turnover battle, have fewer penalties, win special teams, have a 2 score lead going into the 4th and have officials call a clean game. Tall order, especially the last one which hasn’t happened in my lifetime.

    1. My take is TA has known all week that Penix would not play Saturday. I believe he finally made a comment on it as it would have looked bad to wait until game time to let fans know what was happening. I am sure IU was able to sell more tickets with fans thinking Penix just might be the savior to beat the bucks, and those tickets might not have been sold knowing Penix would not play.

      I don’t have the EI game recorded, but I seem to remember a play fairly early in the game where Penix seemed as if he had done something to his leg as he was limping slightly coming back to the huddle. Does anyone else remember this?

      I think Penix knew he wasn’t “feeling right” and that is why Peyton came in to finish the half and Penix didn’t play at all in the second half. Even when BCS teams are beating up on FCS programs, it is quite rare for a starting QB, especially one like Penix with limited game experience, to not at least handle one or two series in the second half before the 2nd and 3rd string QB’s finish up.

      My theory may be total BS, but that’s how a cynical old man thinks!

  13. Could the reason for the Penix injury disclosure by Coach Allen the Indiana Sports Betting Law starts for these week end games?? The Pro’s disclose player’s injuries that may prevent players from playing in the games.

  14. Vague info about a gametime decision injury turns into rorschach test for internet commenters.

    We’ll see. Even with a healthy MP, some major calamities will have to break our way in order to beat OSU. Let’s hope we’ve built up 24 yrs of credit.

    Our receivers are going to have to stop dropping passes, regardless of who is throwing them. We won’t beat OSU if we’re stalling drives and kicking field goals after someone drops a pass that hits them right in the hands.

  15. I don’t think you throw panic into OSU D playing a game of who is our QB. They prepare for Penix and non-Penix. V13, I defer to you on this.

  16. Hmmm, reference to Fred Glass. Yep, hang him in effigy for having hired two of IU’s better football coaches back to back. Those two clowns leave me pining for the days of DiNardo, Cameron, Lynch….. And even though I was something of a fan of Wilson, for what it’s worth to his advocates, his winning percentage over 5 years (0.321) was worse than Cam Cameron’s 5 years (0.327) and Bill Lynch’s 4 years (0.388). Allen sits at 0.384 through two years, 0.461 total to date.

    1. Like Allen(already having one season with Wilson) inherited the same program as Wilson inherited from Bill Lynch(3-21 in conference play over his last three seasons….One whopping BigTen victory per year).

      Don’t even go there. It’s Kevin Wilson who changed the culture and took this program from the worst of the worst in Bill Lynch.

      Fred Glass did not bring Allen to IU. Kevin Wilson hired him as his DC. So if we have Knute Rockne via default, thank KW.

  17. PacNW, while I appreciate you providing the stats about IU’s FB coaches, they’re meaningless to anyone familiar with the history of IU Football. I dare say that until TA got the job, decades of IU Administrators and Trustees failed or refused to provide anywhere near the level of financial support necessary to build and/or maintain a successful football program. IU had a chance to really elevate the program when John Pont was the coach, but the boycott stopped all the momentum and set the program back by at least a decade. We had another chance with Mallory, but again, IU Administrators were too stupid or apathetic to recognize the opportunity and eventually allowed the program to backslide. Hep’s death was a tragedy made worse when IU gave Lynch a multi-year contract. Honestly, no group of people could screw up a football program worse if they were trying to!

    But to be fair, a lot of the responsibility for IU Football being so terrible for so long rests with the Hoosier Nation. We simply have not demanded that IU build a competitive FB program. Has the Hoosier Nation ever cared about football? Maybe we don’t have enough wealthy alumni willing to leverage their donations and demand better results? Maybe the Hoosier Nation was satisfied by Bob Knight’s success for so many years? I’ve been very critical of Fred Glass over the years, but I have to give him credit for at least finding the money necessary to upgrade IU’s Athletic facilities, especially in FB, and finally investing to hire and keep competent assistant FB coaches. Let’s see if the Hoosier Nation begins to recognize the effort and responds by increasing attendance at IU’s home FB games.

  18. Hoosier Nation has backed BB and we haven’t won a national championship for 32 years.

    Yet IU Men’s Soccer has won 8 national titles.

    No, IUFB is horrible because ADs, Boards and coaches have failed.

    1. Cali,
      I don’t want to be too harsh about this, but as much as I appreciate the soccer program, it is virtually irrelevant in modern college athletics. Why? Without the IUFB program in particular, and the men’s BB program, IU would not be able to financially put any athletic team on the field. On the surface that statement seems simplistic, but if one understands the complexities of collegiate athletics these days from current and future legalities, we can begin to understand the importance of a successful FB program. I have been saying for some time now watch out for payment of college athletes. If anyone has been paying attention, the California legislature passed the first shot in this coming issue unanimously in both houses.

  19. Think, I was addressing a point made about Hoosier Nation being responsible for IUFB failures. IUBB has always had full support from Hoosier Nation and that program has become irrelevant among the elites.

    IU Soccer was never intended to be the huge revenue generating machine as FB and BB. Point is they are elite decade after decade.

    Sad to read responses grading college athletic program success not based on national championships, but rather how much money they generate. Remove Men’s Soccer from the equation and tell me just how relevant IU athletics would be overall in terms of any national relevance?

    1. Sad to read responses grading college athletic program success not based on national championships, but rather how much money they generate.

      Very astute observation, Cali. And that continual focus changes the mindsets and priorities of youngsters believing the mighty dollar is salient to all things.

      Football is in serious danger of being a sport of the future…Parents care about the mounting evidence of traumatic brain injury and numbers are dropping. Will traumatic brain injury and the evidence of such large percentages of brains turned to petrified rubber be the final straw against the mighty dollar’s influence on the college football cash cow?

      I find it amazing how many still talk about the imperative of football when the evidence can no longer be refuted as to the abuse to the health and the mind. Should a college football player or parent of an adolescent be eligible for national healthcare with this mounting evidence? When does society no longer have to burden the cost of careless regard(nearly criminal regard considering the evidence) for such egregious neglect to health and well being?

    2. Based on the numbers IU soccer is probably the premier program in the country.

      IU baseball has become one of the top programs not located in the south or west coast. They returned the Big Ten to the CWS after a 30 year hiatus.

      IU swimming is still a top program. Lilly King may be the best known female swimmer in the country.

      While certainly not a powerhouse yet, IU women’s basketball is currently enjoying their greatest success in the sport’s history.

      At the 2019 NCAA track and field championships IU came away with six first team and two second team All Americans.

      IU cross country is the only program to ever win men’s and women’s NCAA championships in the same season.

      IU has a well respected rowing program and has defeated national championships squads several times in the past few seasons.

      I’m not up to speed oh field hockey, water polo, golf, or tennis but there are only so many varsity sports.

      Now, Calihoosier, YOU post the non revenue IU athletics programs that have performed poorly. YOU claimed that’s the case. Let’s see your numbers.

      1. Lack of relevance in terms of national television viewership doesn’t necessarily mean a team/program performs “poorly.” There just isn’t a lot of interest outside of college basketball and college football….Soccer comes in a distant third. Is what it is…
        Don’t get me wrong…Personally, I love watching athletes in all the less popular sports(especially during the Olympics), but it’s never going to generate the cash and the attention that creates buzz around the country.

        Relevance happened under Bob Knight and our banner/Final Four heyday….All the rest is only relevant to, mostly, Indiana residents or parents who have children participating in the sports not garnering much media attention.

        I’m sure there are some spectacular IU golfers as well….They are probably very relevant at the local country club …or at their weekend frat parties.

      2. Chet, I used IU Men’s Soccer due to the fact they have won 8 National Championships. The other non-revenue generating programs you mentioned have indeed ha their moments, swimming and diving come the closest to Men’s Soccer with 6 NC’s.

  20. Cali, you make a good point about quality of teams at IU however there are different dynamics in each sport that contribute to the disparity of success. Finding a coach that can turn a program into a national power, when the teams haven’t been there in a long time, is crap shoot. If there were an easy formula then IU would already be a national contender in FB. I think IUFB is in position in the next few years to rise up in the B1G and national rankings. It isn’t easy to go from being close to winning to being able to be quality teams, I hope IUFB is close to making this happen.

  21. V13, I agree there are multiple factors that go into a program success or failure. Again, I was responding to people pointing fingers at the Hoosier Nation as root cause.

    I hope TA is capable of moving the program forward, but I have only seen proof that he can turn a defense around. Time will tell.

  22. I would turn down an expense paid trip to the NC game even with IU playing. Soccer does nothing for me. To me it’s just an exercise to see who can run the most.

    1. Unfortunately, me too.

      I’m proud my alma mater has the top program in the country but it bores me to tears.

      By the same token, I live on a river about a mile from the coast in Oregon. Most of the year it’s pretty secluded. In September and October I have neighbors. They come for the fishing. Apparently, one of the best spots is about 150ft off my dock.

      My (part time) next door neighbor gets in his boat and goes 150ft into the river and sits…all day…every day. Right out my window. I’ve seen him catch 2 fish. Total. If he were to die first thing in the morning no one would know until he failed to returned for dinner.

      Just motionless. Eight hours a day. Every day.

      You’d think he was watching soccer.

      1. I roger all that although I like my pond fishing. But it’s my pond and I catch fish regularly. I had it stocked long time ago with predator and panfish. The real 1’s not those off breed hybrids + no cats.
        Oregon! When did you leave SE Colorado?

  23. I guess you have to play it to appreciate it, Clarion….It just wasn’t big in the U.S. when most of us near seniors were in high school and college.

    Will it ever be big in the U.S….? I still have my doubts….unless football is banned or forced to become flag football due to the mounting evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

  24. Then again, I’d have to have advanced CTE to watch more than 30 minutes of soccer.
    Maybe soccer’s audiences/viewership will build amongst former career football players?

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