Penix Jr. will be a game-time decision as Hoosiers visit Cornhuskers
LINCOLN, Neb. — The quarterback situations for Indiana and Nebraska remained uncertain heading into Saturday's game, at least to people outside the program.
The Hoosiers' Michael Penix Jr. left last week's game at Maryland with an undisclosed injury. Coach Tom Allen said Thursday that Penix practiced this week but remains a game-time decision against the Cornhuskers (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten).
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez injured his left knee on Oct. 12 and missed the game at Minnesota the following week. Martinez wore a brace at practice this week. Coach Scott Frost said Thursday he has "an idea" who'll start.
Ramsey was a record-setter for the Hoosiers (5-2, 2-2) in 2017 and '18 but was beaten out in the preseason by Penix. Ramsey started two games in place of an injured Penix in September and has appeared in three others.
Frost said Martinez had been working hard to return and was able to spend additional time rehabbing the knee because the Huskers were idle last week and there were no classes for two days this week because of fall break. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters said Martinez was moving better than he did a week ago.
"We have faith in whichever quarterback is out there," Walters said.
This is only the second football game between the schools since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. It's Indiana's first visit to Lincoln since famed Nebraska walk-on I.M. Hipp rushed for a school-record 254 yards in a 31-13 win over the Lee Corso-coached Hoosiers in 1977. Nebraska has won five straight in the series, with Indiana's last win in Lincoln coming in 1959.
PLAYING THE NUMBERS
The Hoosiers, who need one win to be bowl eligible, have won consecutive conference games for the first time since 2017 and are going for a third straight in the same season for the first time since 1993. Also, the offense has scored at least 30 points in six of seven games and recorded at least 500 yards total and 300 yards passing three times.
STOPPING THE RUN
Nebraska has allowed more than 300 yards rushing in two of its last three games and is giving up a Big Ten-worst 5.9 yards per carry against conference opponents. Indiana's 6-foot-2, 231-pound Stevie Scott III has run for more than 100 yards in two straight games.
Though the Hoosiers have allowed only 17 runs of 10 yards or longer, they've struggled against the run at times in Big Ten games. Nebraska is short on depth at running back without Maurice Washington. Dedrick Mills will start in place of Washington, who, according to Frost, is away from the team for the foreseeable future for not adhering to team standards.
Frost said Thursday he planned to have a conversation with Washington.
"If he does want to come back, there are going to be a lot of things he needs to do to earn his team's trust and our trust back," Frost said.
Barret Pickering, who has been out all season with an undisclosed injury, has been kicking in practice and could be back soon, possibly Saturday.
Nebraska's kicking situation has been a hodge-podge through the first half of the season, with punter Isaac Armstrong and walk-on converted safety Lane McCallum handling the duties. As a freshman last year, Pickering made 10 straight field goals to end the season and finished 14 for 18.
Nebraska will wear black alternate jerseys with a skull and crossbones on the shoulder in a nod to the program's "Blackshirt" defense tradition. Frost told his players about his fashion choice Monday.
"If we're going to wear them," he said, "they'd better show up and play with an attitude that makes the Blackshirt alumni proud."