Injury ends Penix season as IU faces tough Wisconsin team on road

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For the third time in his college career, Michael Penix Jr’s, starting quarterback for the Indiana Hoosiers, season ends prematurely as another ACL tear halts his magical season. It’s an unfortunate turn for fans and the team but his injury won’t stop what has already been a season to remember. 

The play that will be immortalized in IU Football history happened week one of the Big Ten football season when Penix made the game winning, diving, two-point conversion to upset No. 8 Penn State. His Space Jam-esque stretch was the beginning of the breakthrough season that

Indiana football has been waiting years for. Big wins against Big Ten giants in Penn State and Michigan have pushed Indiana to new heights. 

Penix shook off a rough start to lead Indiana to an upset victory over the Nittany Lions by throwing for 170 yards with a passing touchdown, and one rushing touchdown. After beating Rutgers in New Jersey, a big time matchup against Michigan stood in Indiana’s way. Penix dominated the Michigan defense going 30/50 with 342 yards with three touchdowns. 

The toughest challenge of the season was a road game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The offense had a difficult time against the vaunted Ohio State defense, but eventually got going as Penix shredded the Buckeye defense. His 491 yards against Ohio State even earned him a shout out by Lebron James. 

He finishes the season with 1,645 passing yards and 14 touchdown passes to four interceptions. His season may be over but the team is built to continue winning. The defense has been great all season with the most notable game coming against Ohio State, forcing Justin Fields to throw three interceptions which tied his total from last season. The defense leads the Big Ten in sacks with 20 and interceptions with 16, which leads the nation with an average of 2.60 interceptions per game. 

Backup quarterback Jack Tuttle is more than capable of taking the lead role. Coming out of high school, he was a four-star recruit with offers from Alabama, LSU, USC, Nebraska, and Utah,

where he signed to play. However, he transferred in the middle of his freshman season to Indiana where he has been the backup to Penix since. 

The road game against Wisconsin was his first start as a college quarterback and many were counting the Hoosiers out. Tuttle played composed and led Indiana to a 14-6 win in a tough, hard hitting defensive battle. A final game at home against a 2-4 Purdue team is all that is left for Indiana. Much is at stake as the possibility of a Big Ten championship bid is still possible if Ohio State can’t play Michigan. Additionally, the program could go to its first New Year's Six bowl game since the 1968 Rose Bowl. 

The Michigan-Ohio State game was recently cancelled which puts the Buckeyes under the requirement of games played to qualify for the Big Ten championship game. The Hoosiers will have to wait and see if the Big Ten allows Ohio State to play in the championship. Indiana faces bitter rival Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket in Bloomington on Saturday December 12th at 3:30 p.m. 

 It’s a sour note to lose Penix in what has been a season for the ages, but he will fight back and return to health next season. With all the talent on the roster, next season could be just as good, if not better than this year. When he returns it will be to a well balanced team that can win with anyone starting under center.

 

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