BLOOMINGTON — In the Indiana football team room, there’s one sentence written in dark blue on one of the multiple dry erase boards.
In all caps, it reads “The habits you create do not leave you, they become you.”
After a 10-point victory over Ball State last week to begin the season, the Hoosiers wanted to focus on the little things going forward. In a 52-0 shutout victory over Eastern Illinois, Indiana cleaned up some of the minor tendencies that kept the game close against Ball State.
It was the first shutout victory by Indiana since 2017 when the Hoosiers defeated Rutgers 41-0. It was also the largest margin of victory in Memorial Stadium history and for the Hoosiers since defeating Nebraska 54-0 in October 1944.
“Like Coach Allen said, we had to be more consistent,” junior receiver Whop Philyor said. “Last week we weren’t consistent. We were more consistent this week, and next week we’re going to be even more consistent.”
Indiana made sure the game was out of reach by the end of the first quarter.
In that quarter alone, Penix had 147 passing yards with an efficient 10-of-13 start. He got plenty of help from his teammates as he was able to consistently find the open receiver.
After an 18-yard pass to junior receiver Ty Fryfogle and a 15-yard pass to sophomore tight end Peyton Hendershot, Penix found freshman receiver Miles Marshall for his first career touchdown on a 10-yard cross route in the end zone.
“I just like us all getting the ball because it makes it more easy,” Hendershot said. “It makes you want to go block and you’ll get rewarded with a pass.”
After sophomore running back Stevie Scott scored his third touchdown of the season to give IU the 14-0 lead, the Hoosier defense immediately gave the offense the ball back.
With EIU set to punt the ball away, freshman linebacker Aaron Casey had other ideas. He blocked the punt, which gave Indiana the ball on the EIU 32-yard-line.
In the first quarter, EIU had -8 total yards of offense, compared to 190 for Indiana.
It took Indiana only two plays from there to find the end zone. On what was just a screen play, Philyor broke multiple tackles and bullied his way through the EIU defense to make it a 29-yard gain. From there, junior running back Cole Gest found the end zone for the first time this season after returning from an ACL injury he sustained in 2018.
“He’s a very talented young man,” Allen said. “We feel confident in his knee and where he’s at. We’re going to need everybody. All those guys are fighting for touches and he’s one of them.”
Due to Indiana’s ability to pick apart the EIU defense, Penix didn’t need to play the entirety of the second quarter. Enter quarterback Peyton Ramsey, whose 64-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Walker gave Indiana the 35-0 lead. He picked up where he left off in the third quarter.
Ramsey found fifth-year receiver Donavan Hale twice in the first drive of the second half, first with a 27-yard pass and then 43-yard pass, which resulted in him walking into the end zone untouched. The score gave Hale his first 100-yard receiving performance of his career.
“I feel like it’s something I’m capable of doing night in and night out,” Hale said. “Peyton and Mike did a good job of finding me when I was open.”
The Indiana defense held EIU in check throughout the rest of the game by not allowing more than 100 yards of total offense until the fourth quarter. Indiana also had more touchdowns (7) than EIU had first downs (5).
Penix, Ramsey and freshman quarterback Jack Tuttle combined for 441 passing yards and four touchdowns. This performance also ended a nation-leading 19-game turnover streak for the IU defense.
With No. 5 Ohio State coming into town next weekend to open Big Ten play, Indiana will need to continue working on the minor details that could decide how competitive the Hoosiers can truly be.
After the performance his team just put up, Philyor wishes his team was playing the Buckeyes today already.
“We come to beat teams like Ohio State, we aren’t just trying to play them, we’re trying to beat them,” Philyor said.