PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Michael Penix Jr. threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score as No. 17 Indiana beat mistake-prone Rutgers 37-21 on Saturday in a game that almost included a crazy TD.
Penix had touchdown tosses of 15, 2 and 1 yard. He also scored on a quarterback sneak as the Hoosiers (2-0, 2-0 Big Ten) followed up their stunning win over then-No. 8 Penn State last week.
The wacky play came with less than two minutes to go when Rutgers seemed to score on a 55-yard play that involved at least seven laterals. After a review, however, it was ruled that receiver Shameen Jones’ pitch was an illegal forward pass, spoiling a wild celebration for the Scarlet Knights.
Ty Fryfogel caught the 15-yard TD pass just 1:43 after Penix scored, giving the Hoosier a 20-7 halftime lead. Tight end Peyton Hendershot caught the short TD flips in the second half and Charles Campbell added three field goals.
Noah Vedral threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Bo Melton and Kay’Ron Adams scored on a 37-yard run for Rutgers (1-1, 1-1). The game was Greg Schiano’s at home since starting his second stint as coach with a win at Michigan State last week.
Vedral also threw three interceptions.
Penix finished 17 of 26 for 238 yards. Whop Philyor had five catches for 137 yards.
The Indiana defense turned the game in the second quarter when defensive lineman Jonathan King and cornerback Jaylin Williams had interceptions on consecutive passes by Vedral deep in Scarlet Knights’ territory.
With the win, the Hoosiers snapped a 10-game losing streak in games that came after they beat a ranked opponent, a drought dating to October 1987.
Indiana: If Penix can stay healthy and Indiana’s defense plays the way it did against Rutgers, the Hoosiers might be the surprise of the Big Ten this season.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ defense can keep them in games. The offense took a big step back. The line didn’t open any holes and allowed too much pressure in passing situation.
Indiana, which entered the game with its highest ranking since Nov. 2, 1993, has a chance to crack the top 15 for the first time since Oct. 16, 1988.
Indiana returns home to play No. 13 Michigan on Saturday.
Rutgers at No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday.