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OPINION: Gritty Peyton Ramsey is the epitome of IU football



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Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey smiles after scoring the winning touchdown against Purdue on Nov. 30 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana. Ramsey scored three touchdowns for IU. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

West Lafayette, Ind — When you Google the definition of epitome, the first response is from the Oxford dictionary. It defines the word as "a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type.”

Before the 2019 season, head coach Tom Allen dubbed the one word of the season as grit. Oxford defines grit as “the courage and determination that makes it possible for somebody to continue doing something difficult or unpleasant”

IU football has had various players that have shown grit in 2019. But the definition is a perfect match for one member of the Hooisers: junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey.

“I love that man to the death of me,” senior receiver Nick Westbrook said. “One of my favorite dudes on the team. He showed so much grit, fight and determination you just can’t help but rally around him.”

If there is one play that shows what Ramsey is all about, it was the last play of the third quarter. The Hoosiers were facing a third and 13, and Ramsey was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled. 

About five yards short of the first down marker, Ramsey encountered an issue. There were two Boilermakers waiting to make a tackle. Instead of sliding and leaving IU short of the line to gain, Ramsey put his body on the line and got helicoptered across the first down line to extend the drive.

“Peyton is a dog man,” junior receiver Whop Philyor said. “He’s tough as nails. You see him out there and he’s taking hits and everything for us. So we gotta play for him because of the things he did for us. That’s my boy.”

Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey throws the ball in the third quarter Nov. 30 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana. Ramsey scored three touchdowns against Purdue. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

The helicopter first down was far from the only hit Ramsey took. He picked up a different third and long after shrugging off a Boilermaker that had an arm wrapped on. He took multiple shots while getting sacked five times in the game. But just like he has all season, after every big hit Ramsey took, he got right back up and not only stayed in the game, but played at a high level.

On the day, the Cincinnati native completed 23 of 39 pass attempts for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Ramsey also ran for 42 yards on 19 carries — 14 rushes for 72 yards not counting sack yardage — and a pair of touchdowns on the ground. The five total touchdowns are a career high for Ramsey in his three-year career in Bloomington.

It was only appropriate that the final play of the game was Ramsey getting drilled on a quarterback sneak while falling into the end zone to give IU football its first eight win season in 26 years.

“Peyton Ramsey, what else can u say,” Allen said. “So fitting he scored the game winning touchdown. He’s a guy that has been awesome all year long, and tough and gritty. He’s just an absolute winner.”

Even before the Oaken Bucket game, grit has always been a perfect way to describe Ramsey. For the third straight season the junior found himself in a quarterback competition. Even after losing to redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr., Ramsey refused to hang his head and transfer somewhere else. 

Instead, Ramsey bucked the modern trend of bailing on a situation at any sort of adversity and stuck it out with the Hoosiers. As Penix suffered various injuries, Ramsey has filled in admirably first on a temporary, and then eventually on a permanent basis after Penix saw his season end against Northwestern.

To stick it out in Bloomington takes a lot of guts and — yes — grit. Because of that grit, Ramsey has helped IU football to a special season.

Peyton Ramsey is the epitome of grit. 

Therefore, Peyton Ramsey is the epitome of IU football.

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