Indiana Daily Student

Freshman trio sparks football win

<p>Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey throws the ball towards the goal line during the first quarter of the game against Charleston Southern on Oct. 7. IU will look to win its first Big Ten game this Saturday at Maryland.</p>

Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey throws the ball towards the goal line during the first quarter of the game against Charleston Southern on Oct. 7. IU will look to win its first Big Ten game this Saturday at Maryland.

Monique Mack couldn't wait until after the game to congratulate her son.

Taysir Mack, a freshman wide receiver at IU, came into Saturday's game against Charleston Southern with two career catches for 18 yards.

By halftime, he had five catches for 96 yards and two touchdown receptions. When he came into the locker room at halftime with his IU teammates, a message awaited him on his cell phone. 

It was from Monique.

"My mom was calling me," Mack said. "As soon as I came in from halftime I was like 'Ma, I can't talk. I'll call you later.'"

The Brooklyn, New York, native added two more catches in the second half of the 27-0 win against Charleston Southern to finish the game with 111 receiving yards.

It was one of several strong offensive performances from IU's freshmen against the Buccaneers.

In his first collegiate start at quarterback, freshman Peyton Ramsey was accurate and efficient.

Ramsey completed 32 of 41 passes for 321 yards, along with two passing touchdowns and one interception.

His 78 percent completion percentage was the best for an IU starting quarterback since October 2014, before either Ramsey or senior Richard Lagow, who Ramsey replaced earlier this week as the starter, had enrolled at IU.

"For me, I wanted him to be named as the starter, have the whole week to have to deal with that," IU Coach Tom Allen said. "He seemed to be very calm and ran things and protected the football."

Ramsey did the majority of his aerial damage during the first half, while the game was still competitive and before a strong rain storm hit during the second half. He also finished the game as IU's leading rusher with 54 yards and a touchdown, after he recovered a fumble by sophomore running back Devonte Williams in the end zone for a score.

"I think to get this game under his belt to go back into Big Ten play, good flow for us on that," Allen said.

Despite playing for the first time since Sept. 9 at Virginia, junior running back Mike Majette received only two carries. Freshman running back Morgan Ellison, who burst onto the scene with a 186-yard rushing performance against Georgia Southern, started for the third straight game.

While Ellison only gained 48 yards and didn't score, he took care of the football and didn't fumble during the game. This had been an issue during Ellison's previous two starts, as he fumbled against Georgia Southern and last week at No. 4 Penn State.

Allen said that the prevention of fumbles was emphasized during the past week of practice.

"I want to go through and watch each one of them and break down why that happened," Allen said. "We work on it as much or more than anyplace I've ever been."

Of the freshman trio who starred for the Hoosier offense Saturday, none of them were expected to start at their respective positions entering the season.

Ramsey replaced Lagow. 

Ellison replaced Majette. 

Mack filled in for an injured Donavan Hale against Charleston Southern, and has taken on an increased role since junior wide receiver Nick Westbrook was lost for the season against Ohio State.

But despite having only 15 games of combined collegiate experience, they were able to seize the opportunities presented their way.

"It was definitely a breakthrough moment," Mack said. "I've been through a lot, especially with family and just being so far away from home. It was very good to be in the end zone and then have my guys show me support and love, because my family isn't here all the time, but it's like I have family here now. They treat me as family and it's the best feeling in the world."  

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