IU football’s worst-case scenario happened.
Junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld suffered a shoulder injury, which after the game would be called a shoulder separation, during the second quarter in a 45-29 loss to Iowa Saturday.
The injury will require surgery and keep Sudfeld out for the remainder of the season, IU Coach Kevin Wilson announced Monday.
Wilson said he doesn’t know the specifics of the injury, but Sudfeld will undergo surgery later this week. He will not be granted a redshirt season.
“It was kind of slipping on him,” Wilson said. “It’s his left side. It’s not his throwing side, so he should be able to make a pretty strong recovery.”
Sudfeld’s injury came three minutes into the second quarter when he was sacked by two Iowa defenders. He walked off the field with trainers, holding his left arm.
During the second half, Sudfeld was seen standing in the locker room tunnel, his left arm supported by a sling.
Wilson was unsure of the severity of Sudfeld’s injury after the game.
“His left shoulder got landed on,” Wilson said. “It’s some degree of a separation and we’ll evaluate it when we get back. I don’t know if it’s short- or long-term.”
Before leaving the game, Sudfeld was 4-of-9 passing for 85 yards and one interception. He finishes the season with 1,151 yards passing, six touchdowns and a 126.6 quarterback rating.
Freshman Chris Covington, who was moved from linebacker to quarterback during preseason camp, replaced Sudfeld against Iowa.
He threw for just 31 yards on 3-of-12 passing and two interceptions.
“Chris is young compared to Nate, so as you practice there are certain plays in which you decide work or won’t work,” Wilson said. “We’re very excited about Chris, and we think he’ll be a very good player for us.”
Former IU quarterback Tre Roberson, who spent the past two seasons sharing time with Sudfeld, transferred from IU in June.
His departure made two things certain: Sudfeld would be the undisputed starter, and an injury to him would be detrimental to IU’s hopes of a winning season and the chance at its first bowl game since 2007.
Now, with a 3-3 record — 0-2 in the Big Ten — IU is approaching the most difficult portion of its season.
The Hoosiers have six Big Ten games remaining. Four of those teams — Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers — have a combined record of 18-5.
Covington will have to make his first start against one of the nation’s best defenses when Michigan State comes to Memorial Stadium this weekend.
Wilson said his offense won’t change too much with Sudfeld out.
Though Covington threw just 12 passes in nearly three quarters of play Saturday, Wilson said the team will have to maintain a more balanced offensive attack just as if Sudfeld was in.
“We don’t play shutout defense a lot,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to find ways to score the ball.
“We’ve emphasize different things because of the talent level at quarterback and his youth, but we have to stay in attack mode.”