No Penix, poor tackling spell disaster for Indiana

Bill Rabinowitz
Indiana Hoosiers tight end Peyton Hendershot (86) catches a 49-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Donavan Hale (6) during the second quarter of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Coach Tom Allen didn’t sugarcoat the disaster that was Ohio State’s 51-10 victory over his Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday.

“Well, rough day for the Hoosiers,” he said. “Very disappointed with how we performed.”

Indiana has been competitive with Ohio State in recent years, but Saturday was a debacle. It was the Hoosiers’ most lopsided loss to Ohio State in Bloomington.

The troubles began days ago when starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. suffered an unspecified injury. He was deemed a game-time decision but didn’t throw in warmups.

Peyton Ramsey, who threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns against the Buckeyes last year, took over. He didn’t play badly, but the Hoosiers missed Penix’s big arm and ability to run.

“You're not going to be able to systematically move the chains 75 to 80 yards against this kind of a team,” Allen said. “You need to get those chunk plays to be able to create that momentum and also get you down the field.”

That seldom happened, except for a 40-yard flea-flicker from receiver Whop Philyor to tight end Peyton Hendershot in the second quarter for Indiana’s only touchdown.

Indiana’s defense was no match for Ohio State’s offense, yielding 528 yards. Allen was particularly perturbed about the missed tackles against Buckeyes running backs J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague, who combined for 299 yards.

“Major disappointment, probably the biggest,” Allen said. “There were several, but that one might be the leader of the pack. I want to find out who and how and get some answers on that because to me that's where it all starts.

“The bottom line is you have to run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense, and we didn't do either one of those today. When you don't, you make it really, really difficult.”

Allen said he expects Penix to return soon. Now it’s a matter of regrouping after a disheartening loss.

“Losses like this obviously are very disappointing,” he said. “But I have a big-picture view. We're trying to build a long-term program, and I understand the team we just played, there's about eight teams in this country that look like those guys do. I've coached in two of the conferences that have most of those teams in them, and I can say with eyewitness eyes that that's one of them.”


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