BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana coach Tom Allen didn’t commit to Jack Tuttle as the starting quarterback heading into Saturday’s homecoming matchup with No. 10 Michigan State (noon, FS1), but it appears more than likely Tuttle will make his third career start against the surging Spartans (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten).
Incumbent IU quarterback Michael Penix Jr. went down with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder Oct. 2 at Penn State, an injury that typically takes up to six weeks to heal.
“Mike’s rehabbing, like I said week to week. That hasn’t changed,” Allen said. “Jack obviously as always (is) ready to go.”
Allen said a starter won’t be announced until kickoff Saturday. The Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2) have faith in Tuttle leading the team after he went 1-1 as a starter with a win at Wisconsin last season. This season, Tuttle has gone 8-of-18 for 168 yards in relief of Penix, with one TD pass and one interception.
Allen said Tuttle’s strengths include his arm strength and quick release.
“Bottom line is that he's started for us in one Big Ten game on the road, which was huge last year, and has played many minutes beyond that,” Allen said. “I just think that his experience as well, and then just his leadership -- I think he's a strong leader on our team and more verbal in that role and does a great job bringing great energy and keeping the guys -- his work ethic is tremendous in the weight room and conditioning workouts and everything that we do.
“So all those things, to me, all are very, very positive things to help us win football games.”
If Tuttle starts Saturday, he will take over an offense that has scored just six points and has yet to score a touchdown in two Big Ten games. IU is coming off a 24-0 shutout loss at Penn State and scored just six points in its Big Ten opener and season opener at Iowa. The focus on the bye week was spent addressing the offense.
“Jack’s preparation, his work ethic is as a good as I’ve been around,” Indiana offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan said. “I certainly think he has the physical ability and tools to be a successful quarterback, and he’s shown that in our conference … so that gives you confidence as a coach that he will be prepared and ready to play.”
ELLIS DONE FOR SEASON
Allen announced sophomore running back/kick returner David Ellis underwent season-ending ankle surgery during the bye week.
Ellis first encountered the injury during camp in August and was hampered with leg problems last season as well. Ellis finished with just three carries for 12 yards this season, with his last carry coming Sept. 25 at Western Kentucky.
MORE REPS FOR HOLLOMAN
With the Ellis injury and with both Sampson James and Tim Baldwin entering the transfer portal, Indiana gave freshman running back David Holloman some reps with the first and second team during the bye week. On the depth chart, though, walk-on Davion Ervin-Poindexter was listed second behind starter Stephen Carr, with Indiana State transfer Chris Childers third.
“We've had guys come in here before that were young, had to play at that position, and he plays as a true freshman,” Allen said. “That's not that unusual for that to happen. Obviously circumstances are not what anyone expected. But opportunity presents itself, and when it does you've got to seize it and be ready for it.”
PRIME TIME AGAIN
IU will play its fourth prime time game of the season when it hosts No. 6 Ohio State on Oct. 23. The game will be televised by ABC.
The Hoosiers have played Idaho, Western Kentucky and Penn State under the lights on Saturday night so far this season, going 2-1 in those games.