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Indiana Quarterback Jack Tuttle Blames Execution Issues For Loss to Michigan State

Jack Tuttle got his first start of the season on Saturday against Michigan State, but execution issues were a problem in the Hoosiers' 20-15 loss to the No. 10-ranked Spartans. Tuttle took full responsibility for his two interceptions and a fumble, and vows to make sure things get better.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind, — With Michael Penix Jr. out with a shoulder injury, Indiana turned to Jack Tuttle at quarterback on Saturday against Michigan State. They put him to work, too, throwing 52 passes in the 20-15 loss to the No. 10-ranked Spartans.

Tuttle completed 28 passes for 188 yards, but he also had two catastrophic interceptions and a fumble on a strip-sack, and the turnovers were too much to overcome for an Indiana offense that's still having a very difficult time finding the end zone.

"For the most part, there were some throws that were inaccurate, and that's on me," Tuttle said in a postgame media conference. "I've got to keep working on that and fixing that. It's not hard. I just got to set my feet."

Tuttle said he was comfortable as a starter, because he prepares every week like he's going to start anyway. Still, facing live bullets is always different and can't be replicated completely in practice. He said he struggled with some of the pressures Michigan State defense threw at him, especially the blitzes he hadn't seen before on film. The pressure forced several of the turnovers.

Indiana coach Tom Allen said he was disappointed and frustrated over how the narrow defeat played out. He thought the defense played great in keeping Michigan State Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Walker in check, but a lack of execution continues to haunt the Hoosiers in the red zone, he said. 

"I thought the defense played awesome and did what we asked them to do," Allen said. "We kicked too many field goals in the first half and didn't finish in the fourth quarter."

Allen thought Tuttle did some good things, but admitted he has plenty of things to work on going forward. There is no timetable for Penix's return.

"The one that got him, you know the pick-six (on Indiana's second possession of the game), was just a bad read," he said. "It was a mistake, and you can't get those back. They are costly."

Allen added that the offensive line needs to block better for their quarterback and his receivers even catch better. Making key plays at critical points calls for someone to step up and make the play, he said. That hasn't been happening.

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Tuttle threw two interceptions, the pick-six returned by Cal Holiday for a 30-yard touchdown, and the other interception in the third quarter also led to a Spartans touchdown. 

In a close game, the errors were the difference.

"I take full responsibility for the first one," Tuttle said. "They gave us a pressure. We game-planned for that during the week, but it was a knucklehead mistake by my part."

Tuttle also took the heat for the second interception and reinforced his theme of the day — there was poor execution throughout the day on the offensive side of the ball.

"I think all of us can do a better job and tighten up, including myself," Tuttle said. "If we do that, I think we'll be in a great spot, and this team will keep on elevating and going up, and you guys will see it."

Tuttle completed a lot of short passes all day, with running back Stephen Carr having a big day. He had a career-high and game-high eight receptions on eight targets for 43 yards, and also rushed for 53 yards.

Carr scored Indiana's lone touchdown, finishing off a drive from the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. It was Indiana's first touchdown in three Big Ten games this season. Even with his fourth rushing score of the year and 16th of his career, the strong effort from the running back wasn't enough to keep the Old Brass Spittoon in Bloomington.  

"They're hurting," Allen said. "I understand why. I am too. By the look in their eye, I can tell, they're going to stay together."

  • GAME STORY: Indiana kept Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker in check, but turnovers once again were an issue in the Hoosiers' fourth loss of the season to a top-10 team. CLICK HERE
  • TUTTLE DRIVE CHART: Here's what Jack Tuttle and the Indiana offense did on every drive Saturday against Michigan State. CLICK HERE
  • LIVE BLOG: Here's how the game played out in real time, with play-by-play and analysis of Indiana's 20-15 loss to No. 10 Michigan State. CLICK HERE
  • TAILGATE TALES: HoosiersNow.com video director Haley Jordan caught up with fans prior to the game during tailgating around Memorial Stadium for her first ''Tailgate Tales'' video. CLICK HERE