No. 17 Indiana wins at Rutgers behind Penix’s four touchdowns
Michael Penix Jr. passed for three touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 17 Indiana was able to seal a 37-21 victory when a stunning eight-lateral touchdown from Rutgers was overturned Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers appeared to score with 1:31 left on a wild sequence that began at the Rutgers 45-yard line. But a replay review determined that one of the laterals was actually an illegal forward pass.
Two of Penix’s touchdown passes went to tight end Peyton Hendershot after Rutgers (1-1, 1-1 Big Ten) closed within 23-15 in the third quarter. Penix finished 17 of 26 for 238 yards for Indiana (2-0, 2-0), which was playing with its highest ranking in the AP poll since 1993.
Indiana scored 17 points off three interceptions of Noah Vedral. The Nebraska grad transfer was picked off on consecutive snaps in the second quarter, setting up the Hoosiers with short touchdown drives of 6 and 28 yards as they took a 20-7 lead at halftime.
Indiana capped a run of 23 consecutive points with a 31-yard field goal early in the third quarter before Rutgers’ running back Kay’Ron Adams sprinted 37 yards for a touchdown with 5:34 left in the quarter. A two-point conversion pass made it 23-15.
Penix followed by connecting with Hendershot on touchdown passes of 2 yards and 1 yard.
Vedral completed 21 of 34 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, both to Bo Melton. The second score covered 16 yards with 3:21 to go, although the two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the score at 37-21. Rutgers recovered the onside kick but ultimately turned over the ball on downs when its apparent touchdown on the multiple-lateral play was overturned.
Indiana receiver Whop Philyor caught five passes for 137 yards. Stevie Scott III rushed 21 times for 81 yards. Penix ran for 20 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown sneak in the second quarter.
Indiana, coming off a thrilling overtime victory against Penn State, fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter but roared back behind interceptions from defensive lineman Jonathan King and defensive back Jaylin Williams that the Hoosiers turned into touchdowns. Micah McFadden had the third pick.
–Field Level Media