Indiana Football Makes History

Indiana+Hoosiers+take+the+field+in+the+2021+Outback+Bowl+versus+Ole+Miss.

Missy Minear/Indiana Athletics

Indiana Hoosiers take the field in the 2021 Outback Bowl versus Ole Miss.

Dawson Jenkins, Sports Writer

The Indiana hoosiers wrapped up the season with a 6-2 overall record finishing second in the big ten east, losing a hard fought game to the Ole Miss rebels in the Outback Bowl. This season has been anything but normal in the world of college football. Whether it be a shorter regular season or no fans in the stands on gameday. One team that has made the most of the opportunity to play this year and not relinquish it is the Indiana Hoosiers. 

Throughout the college football landscape the Hoosiers have thrived with their high flying air attack and ability to run the ball with running back Stevie Scott and quarterback Michael Penix Jr providing a spark out of the backfield. 

Freshman AJ Martel has enjoyed the season thus far watching Micheal Penix Jr lead the Hoosiers. “I would say he’s definitely had a breakout season and really controlled the offense. He did a great job leading the hoosiers into Columbus and making it a close game to powerhouse Ohio State,” Martel said.

Indiana does not come to mind typically when traditional college football powerhouses are discussed, and the school has built their legacy more on the hardwood than the gridiron. The players and coaches of the team are looking to change that narrative starting this season. 

Backup quarterback for the Hoosiers Will Jontz shed some light on what’s made the Hoosiers so successful this season. “Definitely the LEO (Love Each Other) culture that we have been building since coach Allen arrived here. People are really buying into it, and I believe that’s why we have been so successful,” Jontz said.

Despite their successes this season, it still hasn’t come without its own set of unique challenges that are presented while playing through a pandemic. One of the most evident effects is teams having to play with little to no fans In the stands on gameday. 

“I mean it’s tough not having everyone there. But it’s still the same game we are all just as competitive whether or not there are fans in the stands. We all play for each other and I think that’s how we make up for a lack of fans,” Jontz said.

The Hoosiers have been aided by their  2 top receivers Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor who are at the top of the B1G stat wise at their respective positions. Junior Nathan Dolton weighed in with his thoughts on the duo.

“Whop Philyor has been impressive, he  torched Michigan’s secondary. And with Ty Fryfogle- I watched him when he went off in the biggest game against the Buckeyes. The kid played great,” Dolton said.

Another point of discussion is whether the lack of fans creating a more neutral atmosphere has played an effect in the games. Senior Mason Stewart thinks it may have shifted a focus toward the players themselves. 

“Obviously it’s fun to play in front of fans, but I believe that the true skills of the players have been shown without the extra energy provided from the fans. I think a team like Indiana has been on the rise for a while, and they are just now emerging,” Stewart said.

Now the question remains whether or not the Hoosiers can sustain this success for years to come, possibly  giving another team in the state of Indiana (Notre Dame) a run for its money in the future. 

2019 MHS graduate Luke Baker offers his insight on that idea.  

“It’s definitely tough to tell right now, but I would say yes, because they have a young star quarterback as well as a great coach who looks like he is a rising star,” Baker said.