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Rapid Reaction: Indiana defeats Maryland, but Michael Penix suffers injury

Indiana football vanquished Maryland 27-11 in Bloomington. No. 12 Indiana improves to 5-1 on the season.

Key takeaways from the Hoosiers’ win over Maryland:

Michael Penix Injured

The first two seasons of Michael Penix’s Hoosier career were both cut short early by injury. A primary reason for IU’s breakout season has been his ability to stay on the field. However, on a quarterback designed run Penix was tripped up going out of bounds. His right leg crumpled awkwardly and he fell to the ground. He was taken to the locker room and not seen again.

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix looks on late during a loss to Michigan State in East Lansing in 2019. (Jared Rigdon/HN)

It may be just a ankle tweak or it could be the third straight year Penix is out for the season. Jack Tuttle played well in replacement of Penix, but it is hard to imagine that he can play at Penix’s highest level, seen in Columbus last Saturday. The Hoosiers will face challenging defenses of Wisconsin and likely Iowa or Northwestern and an SEC team in a bowl game. Strong quarterback play will be needed.

Hoosiers’ offense inconsistency continues

Indiana’s offense has started slow in nearly every game this season. But not as badly as it did against Maryland. Penix went from torching Ohio State for 491 yards too looking like the backup JV quarterback at Bloomington South. He had just one completion for positive yardage in the first half. And finished 6-for-19 for 84 yards before exiting in the third quarter with the leg injury.

He did not get much help. The Hoosier offensive line gave him little time and continues to be the team’s biggest weakness. There were no wide receiver drops but the receiving corps never seemed in rhythm with their quarterback. Ty Fryfogle had just two catches for 10 yards after averaging 209 yards over the last two games.

And IU’s run game was inconsistent, especially in the first half. Indiana was stuffed frequently against the worst rush defense statically in the Big Ten. The improved second-half ground game was a big reason the Hoosiers pulled away for a victory.

Indiana’s offense did improve over the course of the game. They have yet to find a recipe for a full four quarters of strong play.

Hoosier defense bends but does not break

Indiana’s defense continued its great play. They gave up some yards to Maryland and Tualia Tagovailoa in the first half. However, as Indiana’s defense has done all season, they forced turnovers and limited damage. In the first half the Terps got inside the Indiana 30-yard line four times. They only had three points.

Excellent pass pressure was key to another dominant performance, neutralizing Tagovailoa’s strong arm as he was constantly under duress. IU had three sacks and six tackles for loss. The pressure helped lead to three interceptions again for the IU defense. The Hoosiers lead the country with an astounding 16 interceptions through six games.

Indiana’s offense has been a rollercoaster ride. But defensive coordinator Kane Wommack has built a consistent monster of an Indiana defense. They have given up just 11 total points in the past eight quarters vs. non-Ohio State teams. And Saturday was against the second-best team in the Big Ten in terms of total offensive yards.

Overall, the Hoosiers leave with more concerns than when they woke up on Saturday. An injured starting quarterback and an inconsistent offense are chief worries going forward. However, the Hoosiers are 5-1. They are one win away from clinching second place in the Big Ten East. That is something for the Hoosiers to be proud of when they go to sleep on Saturday.

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