Hoosiers use fast start to rout Idaho 56-14 in home opener
Thu., Sept. 9, 2021
Indiana fans pack the stadium for the kickoff of an NCAA college football game against Idaho, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bloomington, Ind. (Doug McSchooler)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana had something to prove Saturday night. The Hoosiers didn’t disappoint.
Michael Penix Jr. threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and Indiana took advantage of two special teams touchdowns and a dominant defense to rout Idaho 56-14.
For Indiana (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten), it was a big night.
Playing in front of the biggest home crowd since Nov. 23, 2019, the Hoosiers gave the near-capacity fans plenty to cheer about. Indiana has won 18 of its past 20 home openers, perhaps none more impressively than this one.
The timing couldn’t have been better after last week’s embarrassing loss at Iowa, either. This time, the Hoosiers cleaned up the mistakes, made all the big plays and never gave the Vandals (1-1) a chance. They took a 21-0 lead after one quarter and made it 35-0 before Idaho recorded a first down.
It was that kind of night.
A first-quarter fumble by Idaho quarterback Mike Beaudry led to Penix’s first scoring pass, a 9-yarder to Javon Swinton. Four plays later, Swinton scored again, returning a blocked punt 4 yards to make it 21-0. Before the first half ended, the Vandals also gave up an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Beaudry rebounded by throwing two touchdown passes to Hayden Hatten, one in each half, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Idaho: After blowing out Division II Simon Fraser 68-0 in the opener, the Vandals were overwhelmed by the Hoosiers. Idaho dropped to 0-5 against FBS teams since returning to the FCS’ Big Sky Conference in 2018. The Vandals are now 0-4 all-time against the Big Ten, losing the last two by a combined 135-21.
Indiana: Yes, the Hoosiers failed to score a touchdown last week at Iowa. They had no trouble finding the end zone Saturday and with their harassing defense playing as well as advertised, it was a devastating combination. Much stronger challenges are coming during the next month.
Idaho: Takes on another power-conference school next Saturday at Oregon State.
Indiana: Hosts No. 7 Cincinnati next Saturday, their first meeting since 2000.
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