Penix expected to be out for the year with ACL injury

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a torn ACL.

Penix, who leads the Big Ten in passing yards through six games, went out early in the third quarter versus Maryland after a 21-yard run. He appeared to take an awkward step with his right leg as he went out of bounds and fell to the ground.

IU coach Tom Allen confirmed postgame it was a lower-leg injury and Penix would be reevaluated. Allen announced Monday it was a torn ACL — the same ACL that Penix tore as a true freshman.

“I hurt for him, I really do. I hurt really bad,” Allen said. “Sometimes there are no words. I have no magic things to say.”

Penix suffered through multiple injuries during the 2019 season, including a shoulder strain after Eastern Illinois, concussion protocol following a hit at Maryland, and then a right sternoclavicular joint sprain against Northwestern. He played a total of six games, throwing for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Despite Penix’s injuries, IU was still able to win eight games and make a Gator Bowl appearance, thanks in large part to the play of backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey, who is now at Northwestern.

This year, Penix was able to play six consecutive games, amassing a Big Ten-best 1,645 yards passing to go along with 14 touchdowns. That has included eye-popping performances in big games, starting with Penix’s reach for the pylon for a game-winning two-point conversion in an overtime win over then-No. 8 Penn State.

Penix then had 342 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Michigan. On the road at No. 3 Ohio State, Penix torched the Buckeye secondary for 491 yards and five touchdowns in a furious comeback in a 42-35 loss.

Now with Penix on the shelf, all eyes turn to redshirt sophomore Jack Tuttle. The former Elite 11 prospect and Utah transfer was 5-of-5 for 31 yards in relief of Penix versus Maryland. He also tossed a two-point conversion to Peyton Hendershot shortly after Stevie Scott scored following Penix’s 21-yard run.

“There’s no lack of talent with Jack,” IU offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan said Monday. “There’s no pass concept we don’t have faith in Jack executing.”

IU is trying to keep its dream season alive, ranked No. 10 in the country, still with a shot to make the Big Ten title game because of a COVID-19 pause at Ohio State. The Hoosiers are heading on the road to face No. 18 Wisconsin this week, looking for their sixth conference win of the season.

The program’s record for conference wins is six, which was accomplished by the 1967 and ’87 squads.

26 comments

  1. How tough And a challenge it is for a Mike Penix who desires to be among the best including his leadership along with teammates and coaches.
    Now, it is up to J.T., receivers and offense to throw the long ball in combination with Baldwin, Scott, Ellis, (maybe Scott) run game.
    The IU defense and Secondary and take aways has really kept IU afloat for 2020. Reminds me of some ND takeaways as strengths from past seasons. I expect IU offense to continue to improve production under Tuttle and defense to continue high level on to a 7 win and 1 loss regular season. Again, defense is creating game opportunities for IU. However, I don’t expect IU defense to fumble football after interception for the rest of the season.

  2. I’ll bet TA now regrets not giving Tuttle more snaps up to this point.

    While we’re all saddened by Penix’s season coming to an abrupt end, are any of us surprised? He’s super talented, but he’s injury prone. Either that or he has the worst luck of any Power-five conference QB in the country. I’m no expert, but I watched the play where he got hurt over and over again and did not really see how he suffered a serious injury. I thought, or maybe I was hoping, that Penix had a serious ankle sprain. But obviously his injury is much worse, as in a torn achilles. Forgive my speculation, but if that is the case, Penix might not be ready to start next season, whenever that begins.

    So now Tuttle gets thrown to the Badgers, a team noted for their defense. I guess the good news is that Wisconsin will be challenged to prepare for him because there’s so little film on Tuttle. Hope our run game continues to improve this week and that Tuttle is as good as advertised coming out of High School.

    1. Probably not, since that’s never how coaches look at it. I realize that’s a fans viewpoint, but that’s really not the way it is when you’re coaching and preparing.

    2. He tore the same ACL he did year before last. He had swelling Saturday night so they couldn’t confirm until yesterday. Not an Achilles.

  3. Why does this not surprise me? 2020 has been a $hit show, and finally IU is in the running to challenge for the eastern division crown this happens. Somehow I get the feeling that even if IU wins out and makes it to the conference championship game and wins it because OSU’s last two games are canceled making them ineligible to participate. We get selected to play in one of the six premium New Year’s day bowl games, and a week before the game the team suffers a huge covid outbreak and is not permitted to play in the game. That just appears to be the way things are going this year.

  4. Don’t underestimate a California high school quarterback pass ability including long ball. Sometimes setting in the wings ready to make his own name for himself. J.T. is older and not a freshman and has been in program for a couple years learning for an opportunity. It is going to be important that pass game can provide running success. IT’s A CREDIT TO TUTTLE TO STAY WITH PROGRAM AND NOT TRANSFER. And what is now a IU football 2020 season staple defense including secondary and take aways.

  5. Sorry to hear this news for Penix and IU. Now it is up to Tuttle to lead the way and show the talent he has. Live up to his ratings from HS and Hoosier nation has nothing to worry about. The only concern is can he do that since we haven’t had a chance of really seeing him run the offense. He has the athletic ability and arm to excel and I sure hope he surprises many fans with how he runs this team. Not often does a QB have the chance to take over a team that is on the verge of a great season so Tuttle finds himself with a great opportunity. I have to believe he will seize the day and make Hoosiers proud including his dad a Hoosier alum.

  6. Like the old county son, “If I didn’t have bad luck I would have no luck at all”. 2020 is a crazy year for all of us, for I U getting to play football this season, after the conference leaders called the season off is a positive outcome, I U has had a great turnaround season, instead of not having a season to talk about. Look at the IHSAA they played a football season and held their state championship games, so hats off to their leaders and the individual high schools and their players for this accomplishment. Don’t give up on this team, let’s see what Tuttle can bring, he was a highly regarded high school recruit, it’s not like the Denver NFL team that had to play without a QB.

  7. Tough break. But Tuttle is a 4 star in his 3rd year of college. He may not be Penix but he already looks light years better than any QB during the Wilson era not named Sudfeld. TA has built dept at most positions including QB. Anyone heard anything on big Caleb Jones? He could really help in the run game.

  8. I thought Jack Tuttle looked good for the limited snaps he took Saturday. He passes the eye test; I mean #1, he LOOKS like a QB. 2. He appears to have good foot work. 3. I like the reverse pivot pass on the run Tuttle showed (twice I think). He’s even in all the QB meetings meaning I hope he’s been paying attention. I agree with 123, he looked better off the bench than any Wilson QB not named Sudfeld. No need to wish we had Penix cuz he won’t be available. Therefore, I’m totally behind JT. Hope he’s a quick learner because he’ll be facing a Wisconsin D that will really come at him. Let’s game plan an offensive approach that still incorporates the long ball. Go Hoosiers! Beat the Badgers!!

    1. We’ll look to quickly get the ball to the edge early and often. Two first downs a series can be a victory if we tilt the field position in our favor, which is what we’ll try to do. Their defense is so good that points will be at a premium, so we’ll need to run as much clock as we can, play field position, and protect our D. We can’t leave them on the field like we did against OSU or it will be a long day.

  9. Sad, but as others have stated, not totally surprising. Just awful for Penix and IU football. I wish him the best for a smooth and successful recovery! Even with Penix, UW would have been a tough spot. Not impossible by any stretch, but a serious mountain to climb given their D and our lack of consistency stopping the run. I was honestly forecasting a loss and then winning out after that. That may still be possible if Tuttle and the coaching staff adapt well to the change. Maybe I’ll be shocked to still have the single loss season on the table come Saturday night!

  10. I feel it’s entirely possible that Penix was already injured before the sideline run. I wondered why he wasn’t following thru on his passes and missing badly. Glad that team figured out how to run the ball more effectively v Maryland,…they’ll need it. I think Tuttle might do okay. Let’s hope so.

  11. Brad, you may be right about Penix, that he got dinged early in the game. He was rubbing his leg on the sideline and was hobbled a bit. But what a weird ACL injury! I watched the replay five times and never suspected in was an ACL. As we’ve seen with so many fine athletes, there’s not much a training staff can do to prevent ACL injuries. Glad to learn it was not an achilles tendon.

  12. Sheridan’s play calling with Penix behind center has been, at least on short yardage, atrocious. With Tuttle, he hopefully will be happy calling 5 yard pass plays when 3 yards are needed on third down…not a 30-40 yard 50/50, high risk, low % plays. He did it with Tuttle as a fill in v MD and he was 5 for 5. By limiting Tuttle, this could provide less 3 and outs, more possession time and a more effectìve game strategy. Just because a guy has a ‘big arm’ and ‘quick release’ doesn’t mean it should be looked at as ‘bread and butter’. Football is nothing more than ball possession and real estate. As far as I’m concerned, punting when you’re 2nd and 5 is nearly inexcuseable. It’s almost as injurious as a turnover. Against Wisconsin..the clock and possession will be extremely important in order to pull off a win. Before the extent of Penix’s injury was disclosed, the #10 team in the nation was a 10 point dog. HUH? Much of that is the realistic notion that IU’s first down conversions and TOP is below average. It surely will go up by kickoff.

    1. Yes it has. It’s now 14. Handicappers are calling for the score to be 30 to 16.
      Badgers are a nasty animal. Go Hoosiers!!!!

  13. Brad I hope you are right about the change in IU’s offense as I was disappointed that coach Sheridan didn’t go more to short passes on 1st downs and using RBs as outlets. It is nice to b more explosive on offense but not at the expense of having a solid short to medium passing game to count on.

  14. I’m not sure if Wisconsin is any good or not.
    They’ve played a whoppin’ three games.
    But have to figure they’re still big and strong.
    Freshman quarterback is tremendously up and down.
    Hopefully, this week, down.
    I think Tuttle will play way better than anybody suspects,

  15. NatHillIV, we don’t know how good Wisconsin is right now due to who they played and the low number of games. IU’s defense does need to have WS QB have a down week as they have other QBs so far this year. I also think Tuttle will play better than many fans think and it would be great if he can push the offense to score 35 or more points this game.

    This game will determine if this is a good season or a great season for IUFB. Losing to OSU kept this season from being the best in school history but they can still have one of the best season in IUFB history if they beat Wisconsin.

  16. The biggest concern is after the season- Kane Wommack has earned a huge bump in pay. Either IU makes him one of the highest-paid Defensive Coordinators in the B1G or he probably goes to one of the handful of lower-level SEC teams looking to build a top defense without top talent.

    1. Pretty sure Greg Mattison, Larry Johnson and Don Brown are all well above $1M annually, and Phil Parker, Brent Pry and Jim Leonhard are close to that. I’d be surprised if IU can or would pay an assistant that kind of money, at least in the current environment.

  17. I agree BD. If a wealthy FB schools wants to hire an IU Coordinator, there’s not much IU can do to stop it. As for Wommack, there are two pertinent questions. Will the success of IU’s defense be attributed to him, or will it be attributed to TA, who recruited most of today’s defensive starters and built the foundation? Secondly, does Wommack want his next step to be another coordinator’s job for more money, or does he want to be a head coach for an FBS Division school? If he wants to be a head coach, it’s less likely that he would take another DC job for more money because such a move would involve more risk. If IU continues to be a top 20 team with a consistently solid defense, than Wommack could ride the IU wave into a head coaching job within two or three seasons while being mentored by a man he can really trust.

  18. All bets are off on the coaching carousel as long as COVID-19 is around. The games we’ve been watching on TV seem normal enough, but the fake crowd noise and mind-numbing repetition of commercials is about all that’s normal this year. Revenue is down and costs are through the roof. Vaccines on the way? Maybe they work, maybe not. And all it takes is one mutant virus from Siberia or Singapore and here we go again. It’s not unfathomable that this could turn out to be the last year of college football as we have known it.

  19. I’m just wondering how many seniors would have survived Covid-19 had they (AND their caregivers) been given the same attention and early detection a college or pro athlete?

    Maybe college football and basketball players should be the only people allowed to visit lonely seniors in care facilities? Be a nice way to show they care.

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