It started on IU football’s second play of the game. What looked like a pitch to senior tight end Peyton Hendershot ended with a near-fumble recovery by Iowa.
On the very next play, junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw a pass slightly behind graduate student wide receiver D.J. Matthews. The ball bounced into the air off Matthews’ hands, and into the waiting ones of Iowa senior defensive back Riley Moss, who returned it into the endzone 30 yards away.
After the interception, IU head coach Tom Allen approached Penix on the sideline in an attempt to cool the quarterback’s nerves.
Those mistakes proved to be just the first of many in IU’s 34-6 loss.
“A lot of it is self-inflicted,” Allen said in a postgame press conference. “We’ve got to play better. We’ve got to execute. You can’t turn the ball over.”
The Hoosiers ended the half trailing the Hawkeyes by 28 points, 17 of which came off IU turnovers. Senior tackle Caleb Jones didn’t help matters, stalling the Hoosiers’ offense with two false starts.
Penix’s miscues continued in the second half. After the interception he’d previously thrown was called back thanks to a penalty by Iowa, he nearly threw another interception in the third quarter.
Penix said his interceptions came down to execution and left it at that. Senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle said IU’s receivers were sloppy and weren’t able to get open for Penix.
Trailing 31-6 in the third quarter, the Hoosiers opted to insert junior quarterback Jack Tuttle. Allen made the decision hoping to limit chances for Penix to get injured and making sure IU’s backup gets snaps.
“I would say it's dual-purpose,” Allen said. “I felt like it was wise to get him out of there, just if he got injured in that situation I think we would really have some regrets about that, and number two Jack’s gotta play.”
The two offenses had similar games, with the exception of IU’s three interceptions to Iowa’s zero. Both teams had an identical third down conversion rate of 33.3%, and IU’s time of possession was 32 minutes, while Iowa’s was 28.
IU’s mistakes allowed Iowa’s rushing attack, led by junior Tyler Goodson, to total 158 yards. 56 of Goodson’s yards came on his second carry of the game, which ended in a touchdown.
Aside from that run, Goodson averaged a mere 2.4 yards on 18 carries. IU graduate student running back Stephen Carr totaled 57 yards on 19 carries for the Hoosiers.
Fryfogle said when the Hoosiers return to Bloomington, the first thing they’ll do is watch the game film and reflect on the mistakes they made tonight. Allen expressed similar sentiments.
“We just obviously need to watch the film and figure out exactly how to get some of these things corrected.” Allen said.