The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, November 06, 2019 1:00 am

Indiana QB done for season yet again

Joint issue the culprit this year for Penix Jr.

Cameron Drummond | For The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – Michael Penix Jr.'s first two college seasons have followed the same path.

Plenty of promise and potential, and now both cut short by injury.

Indiana's starting quarterback underwent surgery Monday on a right sternoclavicular joint injury (near the right neck and shoulder), and a news release Tuesday announced Penix will miss the remainder of the regular season and postseason for the Hoosiers.

In the release, Indiana head coach Tom Allen expressed disappointment that Penix's redshirt freshman season has ended due to another injury, but Allen still had optimism for what Penix can contribute in the future.

“He's worked extremely hard and had a great season,” Allen said in the release. “He'll recover from this and get bigger and stronger this offseason.”

Penix frequently dealt with injuries this season for Indiana (7-2, 4-2). He appeared in six of Indiana's nine games, playing for the entirety of the season-opening win against Ball State on Aug. 31 and the loss at Michigan State on Sept. 28.

But on three occasions Penix was sidelined with injuries, a troubling trend for the Hoosiers given the fact Penix played only three games in 2018 before tearing his ACL.

This season, trouble began to surface with Penix's health in just the second game.

An undisclosed injury that flared up during Indiana's 52-0 win against Eastern Illinois meant Penix played less than half the game, and forced redshirt junior backup Peyton Ramsey to start in Week 3 against Ohio State and in Week 4 against Connecticut.

Penix returned for Week 5 against Michigan State, hardly showing any rust with a 33-of-42 passing performance that generated 286 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and a near-upset of the then-ranked Spartans.

The benefit of a bye week following the Michigan State game meant Penix was healthy enough to start against Rutgers on Oct. 12, and Indiana's lopsided 35-0 win didn't force him to do anything special behind center.

But Penix left the first half of the Oct. 19 win at Maryland with another unspecified injury, which seemed to occur after he took a particularly hard hit during the second quarter.

Ramsey played the rest of the Maryland game, throwing for nearly 200 yards and a touchdown off the bench as the Hoosiers won by six.

Ramsey was even better the following week at Nebraska, torching the Cornhuskers for a career-high 351 passing yards as the Hoosiers secured bowl eligibility with a 38-31 win.

Throughout this, Penix always remained a game-time decision.

Allen and the rest of the IU coaching staff revealed precious little about what ailed the left-handed quarterback, and he often took part in some of IU's pregame warmups, fueling speculation as to his status for each game.

Last Saturday, Penix started his sixth game of the season but was again forced to leave the eventual 34-3 win over Northwestern before halftime because of an injury.

Penix went straight to the locker room following a late first-half drive by the Hoosiers and didn't return, with Ramsey and redshirt freshman Jack Tuttle playing quarterback in the second half.

Penix finishes the season having completed 110 of 160 passes for 1,394 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He had a 68.1% completion percentage.

With Penix out for the season, Ramsey is set to return to the starting role he held briefly in 2017 and then for all 12 games last season. 

Ramsey has completed 113 of 157 passes for 1,302 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He has a 73.4% completion percentage.

Tuttle, who transferred to IU from Utah during the offseason, would logically be the backup as IU's only other scholarship quarterback.

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