BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana’s bounce-back strategy from a lopsided loss starts with a quarterback change: Redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey is in and senior Rich Lagow is out. No more rotating.
“Our ability to move the ball and score points comes down to building a team around whoever we feel gives us the best chance to win on game day,” coach Tom Allen said Monday. “We feel Peyton gives us the best chance.”
Lagow, who threw for 3,362 yards and 19 touchdowns last year, started the first four games this season, with Ramsey coming in for designated series. Ramsey outplayed Lagow in a win at Virginia and again during last Saturday’s 45-14 loss at Penn State.
For the season, Ramsey has outperformed Lagow in passing accuracy (60.4 percent to 56.3 percent) and rushing (117 yards to minus-30).
“It was the body of work,” Allen said. “Peyton has a look in his eye that’s different. There’s a grit and toughness to him. There’s a linebacker mentality to him in how he works. Those are the things I saw. Those need to come to the forefront.”
The change takes effect Saturday when Indiana (2-2, 0-2 Big Ten) hosts Charleston Southern (2-2).
“Ramsey gives you the ability of opening up the run game more,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said. “Every time he’s gone into the game, the run game has opened up more. That helps you control the ball. He also can do things on the move.”
Ramsey will get one game as a starter before Indiana resumes Big Ten play by hosting No. 7 Michigan on Oct. 14. DeBord said Ramsey, the son of a high school coach (Doug Ramsey coached his son at Cincinnati Elder High School), can handle starting pressure. And rotating quarterbacks isn’t part of the plan as it was the first four games.
“I wanted to see what they could do,” Allen said. “It gave me a chance to see, in an objective way, who could move the ball. (Ramsey) has to be ready to go. That’s what he’ll do.”
Allen said he believed Lagow, a senior, will handle the transition well and be ready if called upon. He said the Hoosiers practiced well Sunday after the Penn State loss.
“They got refocused,” he said. “Ball security was a big emphasis in practice. Offense protecting the ball, defense taking it. We’ll continue to emphasize that.”