Indiana looks to get back on track vs. Western Kentucky

Field Level Media

September 22, 2021 at 2:20 pm.

Indiana hasn’t gotten off to the start it wanted in 2021.

The Hoosiers (1-2) are looking to get back on track Saturday night at Western Kentucky (1-1) in a non-conference game in Bowling Green, Ky.

Indiana turned the ball over four times and went just 3-of-6 in red zone chances in a 38-24 home loss last Saturday against No. 8 Cincinnati. Overall, the Hoosiers have turned the ball over seven times in three games, with all seven turnovers coming in its two losses to Cincinnati and Iowa.

“We talk about protecting the football at a high level, and we’ve not done that in the two games that we’ve lost,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said.

Indiana starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has thrown a Big Ten-high six interceptions after throwing just four in seven games last season.

“Just want to take care of the ball, not put the ball in jeopardy,” said Penix, who threw three interceptions against Cincinnati last Saturday.

“Just want to make sure that I’m being smart with my reads and just being confident in all of my throws.”

Western Kentucky boasts the nation’s top pass offense (456.5 yards per game) and best offense in the country converting on third downs (11-16, 68.8 percent). The Hilltoppers are coming off a 38-35 loss at Army.

Western Kentucky starting quarterback Bailey Zappe has thrown for 859 yards on the season, with 10 TD passes against only two interceptions. Zappe earned Conference USA Co-Player of the Week honors after throwing for 435 yards and three TDs versus Army.

A sellout crowd is expected at 23,776-seat Houchens industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, where Western Kentucky fans will be encouraged to wear black in a black-out game in a nationally televised night game.

“Indiana is a really good football team,” Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton said. “You look at them across the board, all three phases, they’ve got players everywhere. Coach Allen does a fantastic job. They play hard, so it’s going to take everything we’ve got to try to go win this game. But really excited to have this opportunity to play in front of our home crowd in a great, great atmosphere.”