BLOOMINGTON — Twitter was active Saturday afternoon with fans questioning why Indiana coach Tom Allen continues to go with Peyton Ramsey as the Indiana quarterback.
Ramsey had serviceable numbers in the 42-16 loss to Iowa with 309 yards passing, one touchdown passing and another rushing. He also had two interceptions in the end zone, though, and had trouble moving the IU offense throughout the game.
The quarterback many fans are clamoring for is true freshman Michael Penix Jr., who can still play two more games and not burn his redshirt year under new NCAA rules in 2018.
Following the game, Allen said he understands why people would be thinking that way.
“We had those discussions but decided to stay with Peyton and not make that move,’’ Allen said. “So that’s probably something we’ll continue to look at and evaluate everything that we’re doing. We’ll make sure we’re giving ourselves the best chance to win on game day.’’
With five games to play, IU still needs two wins to get bowl eligible. With two of those games against Penn State and Michigan, the Hoosiers will likely need to find two wins from a trio of teams including Minnesota, Maryland and Purdue.
Allen definitely expects Penix Jr. to play in the additional two games he’s permitted while still being allowed to redshirt this season. But he chose not to talk in specifics.
“He’ll be part of our discussions because you’re kind of getting to the point in the season where there’s no question he will play to maximize the four games at minimum,’’ Allen said. “That will happen. How much he plays beyond that is up to our staff. Whatever we feel is best for the team is what we’ll do.
“I want to win as bad as anybody in this room so we’ll do whatever we have to do to put us in position to do that. That’s what the thought process will be.’’
Thursday, it was reported IU sophomore running back Morgan Ellison had been suspended by the university for 2½ years after Ellison allegedly assaulted a fellow student while she slept and then used force to continue the assault when she woke up.
The report was also that Ellison had denied using force and said all of the sexual activities that occurred were consensual. It’s possible for Ellison to appeal the suspension.
In the meantime, he has not played in any of IU’s seven games this season.
Asked to comment on when Ellison resumed practicing and when he stopped again, Allen said he followed all applicable university rules and policies.
“On the 13th of September he was allowed to practice, and then Oct. 3 is when he quit practicing,’’ Allen said. “That’s basically where we’re at. And so I can’t really comment on it. It’s an ongoing situation that still has not been resolved. I feel very confident that I followed things exactly as I was told to do.
“I believe in the system we have in place, the policy that we have at our university for this type of situation and have confidence in what they’re doing. Therefore, I just tell the truth and do what I’m told.’’
Indiana was flagged for 10 penalties Saturday for a total of 99 yards. Two of them were on the coaching staff, including one on Allen himself.
The first one came after an IU defender was called for pass interference, a penalty that resulted in a 15-yard walk off. The unsportsmanlike call was on one of the IU secondary coaches and resulted in a penalty that was half the distance to the goal line.
“Honestly, the first one was on one of our assistants, and he was yelling at one of our players,’’ Allen said. “And the official said he didn’t know if (the assistant) was yelling at (the player) or (the official). I said to him, ‘Seriously? That’s how it is?’ So literally (the assistant) was yelling at our corner about his technique as he had just got burned. He wasn’t looking for the football.
“That’s how the first one was explained to me.’’
The second one was a 15-yard penalty on Allen who said he stepped on the field about one step but the official “was eyeing us like a hawk’’ and threw the flag.
“I wasn’t even looking at him,’’ Allen said. “But that’s how it goes. Sometimes you get things like that. You can sit there and watch it. We weren’t even talking to those guys. But, for whatever reason, that’s the call they made. I obviously don’t like them, but my shirt doesn’t have stripes on it.’’
EIGHT FOR EIGHT
Indiana has now had eight interceptions this season by eight different players.
Thomas Allen came up with one in the second quarter Saturday and returned it for 29 yards. IU scored on a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
That’s 48 points scored off of 14 Indiana takeaways this season.