Indiana is a football state


Brentton Wharton, staff writer

All college conferences are officially back in college football and the first few weeks have given us nothing short of what we expected. The biggest surprise, however, could be the early success of the Indiana colleges.

Indiana University blew up the college football world in the Big Ten’s return to play, knocking off the (at the time) #7 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in an overtime thriller that ended 36-35. Purdue also picked up a week one victory over Iowa, completing a fourth quarter comeback to knock off the Hawkeyes by a score of 24-20. These teams have shown that they have come to play in 2020, but it’s what’s yet to come that’s exciting. 

Looking at Indiana, they are currently ranked #10 in the country, and they will look to build upon a 38-21 victory in their week three thrashing of Michigan and a 24-0 win at Michigan State this past weekend.

At the helm of this team is Michael Penix Jr., a redshirt sophomore out of Tampa Bay Florida. This year Penix has completed just under 60% of his passes (58%), thrown for 750 yards and seven touchdowns, with just one interception on the year (stats heading into this past weekend).

It is not too far-fetched to think that this Indiana team could win the Big Ten, as they currently sit atop the pack at number 1 in the B1G East. However, their biggest test is yet to come, as they face CFB playoff hopeful Ohio State this Saturday at noon. Ohio State is currently ranked #3 in the country, and when that matchup rolls around I don’t expect them to have moved, and I actually expect Indiana to be near the #5 to #7 range. It will definitely be a marquee matchup in the Big Ten this year, and it’s one to watch. If Indiana wins that game against Ohio State, then I think the B1G title is all but won for them.

The game has a Ben Davis flavor too, with IU coach Tom Allen a former Giant head coach. The Hoosiers feature 2018 BD grad Reese Taylor in the defensive backfield and Ohio State has 2019 BD grad Dwayne Jones earning his share of playing time.

The Purdue Boilermakers hit a bump in the road this past weekend with a home loss to Northwestern. Led by their high flying wide receiver crew — including former Warren Central star David Bell — they jumped out to an early 2-0 record. It’s impossible for fans, coaches and players of any Big Ten team to ignore the firepower Purdue has on the outside. Rondale Moore and Bell look to be the best receiving duo in the Big Ten, and are arguably one of the best duos in the nation.

Bell has been the number one option this year, with Moore missing time. Bell has had an incredible start to the 2020 season, totaling 22 receptions for 243 yards and four touchdowns through two weeks. Bell is also ninth in the country in yards per game averaging 121.5 yards in the first two games.

On the professional side, the Indianapolis Colts are 6-3 and host NFC-leading Green Bay this Sunday. The Colts won a huge game at Tennessee last week and lead the AFC South with seven games left in the season. The Colts are doing it on both sides of the ball and feature one of the NFLs top defensive units.

And did I mention Ben Davis is hosting a semistate game this Friday against against No. 1 Center Grove? This is BD’s fourth semistate game in the past five years. The Giants are 1-2 in the last three semisiate games with both losses coming to Center Grove, including a 17-10 heartbreaker at Center Grove last year.

Our Giants have won five games in a row after going 2-5 in the first seven games. Center Grove is 12-0 and beat BD 35-12 during the regular season. Center Gove beat Warren Central 38-0 this past Friday while BD handed Carmel a 27-21 defeat.

Indiana is indeed a football state.