Hey everyone. A beautiful, but windy day here in Bloomington. There is, as always, a lot to talk about. So let’s discuss that first half, and more:
The end to the half? Not great.
Ooh boy. Maybe the worst example of clock management in Tom Allen’s career. It’s not all his fault — he doesn’t call the offensive plays and Ricky Brookins didn’t get out of bounds there to end the half. But Indiana left at least six points in that second quarter. First, let’s discuss the 4th-and-1 playcall to Nick Westbrook in the endzone. Huh? I’m probably as confused as you are. Indiana averaged 6.9 yards per carry in that first half. Its offensive line has played a very strong game, minus the holds. Both Stevie Scott and Ronnie Walker showed bursts of speed. I understand that Penn State may have seen a Scott run coming, but all the Hoosiers needed was a few inches. Instead, IU opts for a low-percentage play to Westbrook and misses out on three, or seven points. It could have been a Michael Penix ad-lib. Whatever it was, it can’t happen if Indiana is serious about upsetting teams such as Penn State. I also understand the mindset of being aggressive as the inferior program, but at some point, it should be played smart. For the record, I was a fan of the decision of going for it on 4th-and-1. But the play call and execution could not have been worse.
And secondly, Indiana leaves another field goal try on the field with a clock management disaster. Another holding penalty pushed IU out of Logan Justus’ range, but Peyton Ramsey found Brookins for eight yards to get to the Penn State 32-yard line. Justus isn’t necessarily money from 49 or 50 yards, but he would have had the wind at his back. There will be questions postgame on both sequences. Indiana should be leading this game. I swear I’ve typed that before this season, and for the last four seasons.
I’m going to be honest, I was pretty surprised that Penix appeared in this game — especially as early as he did. I know that he was going to play twice more, at least, but it’s incredibly windy on the field and a tough spot for a freshman quarterback. Overall? He’s looked very promising. There are things that Penix can do with his arm, and legs, that Ramsey cannot. Penix can stretch the field in a variety of ways. He’s better at keeping the play alive as well, in my opinion. His numbers aren’t great, 9-of-19 for 94 yards in that first half. But there have been a few drops and unlucky plays, along with a couple poor decisions from Penix himself. A mixed bag, I would say.
Ramsey, of course, entered again to finish the second half. That decision seemed strange to me. I suppose Allen went to Ramsey again for the purpose of clock management (yikes), and being the better option at short, quick strikes against a conservative Penn State defense to end the half. I wonder what happens on IU’s first drive of the second half year. My guess is Penix, but who knows. I also wonder how much confidence and momentum these two quarterbacks have with going back-and-forth from the bench to the field. But that’s a conversation for another day. Talk to you soon.