BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Tom Allen saw the level of command he was looking for during Indiana’s 52-0 shutout of Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
“Took care of business like we were supposed to,” the Hoosier head coach said. “That was our challenge, to play to our standard. And whatever happens, make sure we’re getting better from the week before.”
Even in a season-opening win over Ball State a week ago, Allen noticed too many breakdowns and missed opportunities.
Week 2 was different.
All it took was one quarter for the Hoosiers (2-0) to put it away. They dominated on defense and took an early lead with touchdowns on their first three possessions.
“I thought (we) were able to run the football better, tackle better, execution was solid on both sides of the ball, especially on defense,” Allen said. “(The defense) didn’t really give them a lot of room to work, put a lot of pressure on them and kind of suffocated them there. That’s a positive thing.”
Backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey was 13 of 14 for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and starter Michael Penix Jr. was 14 of 20 with 197 yards and two touchdowns before taking a seat late in the second quarter.
“This was a great game, just watching the offense execute,” Penix said. “We don’t take anyone lightly. We’re always coming out pushing extremely hard.”
Penix first connected with Miles Marshall on a 10-yard touchdown pass on Indiana’s opening drive. Stevie Scott III scored on a 5-yard run and Cole Gest from three yards out to put the Hoosiers ahead 21-0 with 1:34 to go in the first quarter.
The Panthers (0-2) didn’t have any answers.
Indiana defensive end Alfred Bryant made tackles for a loss on both of Eastern Illinois’ first two plays of the game. Then tackle Demarcus Elliot sacked quarterback John Brantley. The Panthers went 3-and-out all three drives in the first quarter.
Brantley finished 8 of 17 for 49 yards. Eastern Illinois had only 116 total yards of offense. Indiana finished with 555 total yards.
“We certainly want to get out and get challenged,” Eastern Illinois coach Adam Cushing said. “This was a really good football team that we had an opportunity to play. We play another one next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.”
The Hoosiers added two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Peyton Hendershot’s 8-yard TD catch made it 21-0 with 1:44 remaining in the half. After Ramsey took over at quarterback, he found Ronnie Walker Jr. on his first pass for a 64-yard score to give the Hoosiers a 35-0 halftime lead.
The Panthers were held scoreless for the first time since Sept. 12, 2015 when they lost 41-0 at Northwestern. Eastern Illinois is 0-9 all-time against Big Ten teams.
The Hoosiers have won 16 of its last 17 non-conference games, including a streak of eight straight. This win, which was the largest margin of victory since Indiana beat Nebraska 54-0 on Oct. 14, 1994, also moved the Hoosiers to 3-0 all-time against Ohio Valley Conference teams.
Eastern Illinois: The Panthers struggled to get anything going on offense. They didn’t gain positive yardage until an 8-yard rush by Jaelin Hayes-Benefield with under three minutes in the first quarter. Brantley was 1 of 2 passing for no yards and had three carries for minus-15 yards in the opening quarter.
Indiana: The convincing performance lifted the Hoosiers to 2-0. They need the momentum going into next week’s Big Ten opener against fifth-ranked Ohio State.
The difference in other key stats tell the story. Eastern Illinois finished with just five first downs in the loss while Indiana had 26. The Panthers had 64 passing yards and the Hoosiers’ quarterbacks totaled 441 yards passing. The Panthers were 2 of 16 on third down conversions while the Hoosiers were 10 of 16.
Eastern Illinois: The Panthers host Illinois State in their home opener on Saturday.
Indiana: The Hoosiers host the No. 5 Buckeyes on Saturday.
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