2021 NFL Draft: Poor game by Michael Penix capped off by injury

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix shows major flaws against Maryland.

Before the season started some in the draft community, including myself, expected Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix‘s draft stock to sky-rocket. Through five games, Penix has led the Big Ten in passing touchdowns, with 14. He also has passed for 1,561 yards and only four interceptions, while leading the Hoosiers to a 4-1 record.

The single loss was to a top-10 Ohio State team. In that game, Penix threw for almost 500 yards and five touchdowns. He has steam-rolled through the Big Ten and has seemed unstoppable at times. That was until a disastrous showcase on Saturday against a mid-tier Maryland team.

Penix struggled early to start the game. By halftime, he completed only two out of his 15 passing attempts for 37 yards. All of those yards came from a 37-yard completion on a free-play thanks to an offsides call. Still, he made the smart decision of chucking it downfield and hoping for the best.


Penix did not just have a bad half on the stat sheet. He was rattled by the Maryland front seven. On most dropbacks, Penix displayed sloppy footwork and mechanics that NFL scouts will nit-pick. He was also off-the-mark on several throws. And as the game went on, Penix would attempt to force shots down the field, and not look for the safe play to pick up the first down.

The first half was a complete mess for Penix, but he led the Hoosiers on a nice drive to get into the opposing team’s territory. Once in the red zone, he ran a beautifully executed read-option and displayed the athleticism that many Hoosier fans have been wanting to see.

Unfortunately, as Penix was running to the sideline, he was tripped up and landed awkwardly. He would then exit the game with a suspected leg injury. Coach Tom Allen is hoping for Penix to be available for the Hoosiers going forward, but they are still unsure if they will have him for next week’s game against Wisconsin.

“We don’t know,” said Allen, “He’s going to be evaluated and we’ll know more on Monday.”

If he misses the rest of the season, this will be Penix’s third season-ending injury in a row. His freshman year it was his ACL that cost him his season. Last year, it was an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

Next. Three-round 2021 NFL mock draft. dark

Penix has only played in 15 out of 31 possible games. If he can not stay on the field, not only will it hurt his development. But, it will also hurt his chances of ever becoming an NFL quarterback. The best ability, especially for a franchise quarterback, is availability. And if you’re unavailable then you can not help your team compete.