No. 12 Indiana shines on defense in 27-11 win over Maryland

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana coach Tom Allen watched his defense force three more turnovers, record three more sacks and produce another game-changing play. It’s becoming part of the weekly routine.

Now the 12th-ranked Hoosiers might need even more from Allen’s improved defense.

After Stevie Scott III ran for three scores in a 27-11 victory over Maryland on Saturday, Allen’s biggest postgame concern was the health of quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who left the game in the third quarter with a lower right leg injury and did not return.

“I don’t know. If I knew I’d tell you,” Allen said when asked whether Penix could play next week. “The bottom line is he’s going to be evaluated and we’ll know more Monday.”

Losing Penix would be a huge blow for the Hoosiers (5-1), who have already ended losing streaks against Penn State and Michigan, reached the top 10 for the first time since 1969 and now have back-to-back winning seasons in Big Ten play for the first time since 1987-88.

Penix left midway through the third quarter after being tackled out of bounds. Initially, he couldn’t put any weight on the leg.

With or without Penix, the Hoosiers remain confident they can finish the job because of the guys on the other side of the ball.

On Saturday, Indiana completely shut down quarterback Tailua Tagovailoa and the Maryland offense over the final three quarters and delivered the key play midway through the third quarter with the ball at the Terrapins 4-yard line.

Tagovailoa faked a handoff inside and sprinted to his right. Linebacker D.K. Bonhomme followed Tagovailoa and buried him in the end zone to give Indiana a 9-3 lead, the momentum and the ball.

“Any time you get into the read-option when the read key makes the tackle, you’ve misread it,” coach Michael Locksley said. “I don’t understand why the ball wasn’t given. It’s pretty simple math — the guy that tackled him was the guy that read it. For me, that goes back to me as the coach.”

Penix was injured on the ensuing series but Indiana didn’t miss a beat. Scott scored on a 1-yard plunge two plays later and backup quarterback Jack Tuttle hooked up with Peyton Hendershot on a 2-point conversion to make it 17-3. Tuttle completed all five of his passes and led the Hoosiers to two more scores in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a ground game that rushed for a season-high 234 yards.

“Momentum is a huge part of this game, so I think once you get a couple of big runs, a couple of good runs or a couple of good blocks, it really carries you,” said freshman Tim Baldwin Jr., who ran for a season-high 106 yards. “You saw what happened with the defense today.”

So did Maryland (2-2), which struggled mightily in the red zone after taking the last two weeks off because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Tagovailoa missed two open receivers for potential scores in the first half and was picked off twice in scoring position. Joseph Petrino also missed a 29-yard field goal wide left on the first possession of the game.

Tagovailoa finished 17 of 36 with 241 yards and one touchdown — with 1:32 to play. Dontay Demus Jr. had six receptions for 114 yards and the score.

“When you turn it over three times and have a safety, eight penalties, we didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Locksley said.

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.