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It's Tuttle Time As No. 10 Indiana Heads To Wisconsin

Indiana quarterback Jack Tuttle

Indiana quarterback Jack Tuttle addresses the media. (Indiana University Athletics)

No one expected the Indiana football team would be ranked Number 10 six games into the season. And no one expected Jack Tuttle to be the starting quarterback.

But that’s where the Hoosiers are heading into this weekend’s game at Wisconsin.

Tuttle was thrust into the starting role when Michael Penix suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter of last week’s win over Maryland.

It’s the same injury Penix suffered as a freshman in 2018 and ends a third-straight season prematurely. And the red-shirt sophomore was having a great season, leading the Big Ten in both passing yards and touchdowns.

“To put himself in position to play the level he was playing, and then to have it all just cut short, so fast,” Allen said. “It’s tough, it is.”

Tuttle transferred to Indiana in 2019 after spending one semester at Utah and didn’t play much for the Hoosiers last year. Replacing Penix last Saturday was his first action this year. But the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Tuttle was a highly-rated quarterback coming out of high school.

“Jack Tuttle is a special player so you know, and I know he hasn't played a lot here on game day, but he has big time arm, and he's got tremendous football instincts and football IQ. And he's extremely bright,” Allen said. “And his biggest qualities, I think it's great, is called his work ethic.”

Being the starter won’t change how Tuttle approaches the game.

“It is kind of the same for me,” Tuttle said. “Every week I try to prepare like I am the starter. Every week we put earmuffs and blinders on to the outside to focus on the internal and our opponent.”

Tuttle has the luxury of having plenty of skilled players around him on offense and one of the league’s best defenses.

Ty Fryfogle leads the Big Ten in receiving yards and touchdowns. Running back Stevie Scott is coming off a three-touchdown game that earned him the Big Ten offensive player of the week award.

The Hoosier defense leads the league in sacks and interceptions.

Still, Allen is asking everyone on the team to step up with one of its star players sidelined.

“It’s about every group elevating 1%,” Allen said. “Every position group, every phase of the game.

“Our defense has played phenomenal this year and needs to be elevated. Get one more takeaway, one more key, one more big play on defense. Offensive line-wise, you elevate your play, each guy elevates their attention to detail in their preparation. Receivers, every guy elevates his attention to detail and route running and doing one more thing to be able to tell this team to be great.”

Allen expects nothing less from a team that has overcome injuries and adversity along the way in a season where the pandemic has wreaked havoc on schedules and personnel across the nation.

“This is a tight group of guys; this is a close-knit family, that trust in each other, loves each other and cares about each other,” Allen said. “And part of that is being ready when called upon.”

Indiana has one more regular season game after Wisconsin, next Saturday at home against Purdue. Then the Hoosiers will play a Big Ten cross-over game against an opponent to be determined on Dec. 17.

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