BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Every week Jack Tuttle prepares like he's the starter, whether he is or not.
Through the first six games of the season, Tuttle has not been the starter, but as Indiana gets set to head to No. 18 Wisconsin this Saturday, Tuttle's preparation will now become a reality.
Tuttle will be getting his first-career start after Michael Penix Jr. suffered a torn ACL against Maryland last Saturday.
"Every week I try to prepare like I am the starter," Tuttle said. "Every week we put earmuffs and blinders on to the outside to focus on the internal and our opponent."
Tuttle came into last Saturday's game after Penix went down in the third quarter.
In his first play from scrimmage, he was lined up as a wide receiver as Stevie Scott took a direct snap and scored a touchdown. But the Hoosiers elected to go for two to make it a 14-point game, and Tuttle found Peyton Hendershot in the end zone to convert it.
Indiana head coach Tom Allen said it wasn't an easy throw for Tuttle to make because of the tough angle and window, but Tuttle had no issue doing so.
"Coming in and being prepared, I came in ready to go," Tuttle said. "I did not feel like there was a lot of nerves coming in. The preparation really helped."
Tuttle said he wasn't sure what happened when Penix went down, and he was hoping that his teammate was going to get back up and be fine. But when Penix went back to the locker room, Tuttle said he felt ready to go in.
He didn't need to do much, throwing the ball five times and completing each pass for a total of 31 yards. Indiana mainly used its rushing attack to close the game out and win 27-11.
But now Tuttle will be heading into Camp Randall Stadium for the first start of his career, and he'll be tasked with leading Indiana's offense that has a ton of weapons around him.
"I think our offense is phenomenal, and we have some guys that can really go," Tuttle said. "I believe in that, they believe in themselves, and we believe in each other."
Tuttle is entering a similar situation that former Indiana quarterback and current Northwestern starter Peyton Ramsey endured last season.
Tuttle was in the Hoosiers' QB room with both Penix and Ramsey last season, and he was able to learn a lot from both of them.
"I think both of them are phenomenal quarterbacks and I learned a lot underneath them," Tuttle said. "How they watch film sometimes, I implemented that into my routine. Stuff like how they do their pre-snap routine, things like that I took and implemented into my own."
On Tuesday night, the second College Football Playoff rankings were released, and Indiana remained at No. 12 after knocking off Maryland. There are three teams in front of the Hoosiers that have more losses than them this season.
Tuttle said there's always a chip on the shoulder of the team, but they aren't focused on those rankings at all.
All Tuttle is worried about his leading the No. 10-ranked Hoosiers to victory in Madison.
"I think it's great," Tuttle said. "I'm looking forward to playing loose and having some fun on Saturday."
- INDIANA SECONDARY CAN REACH NEXT LEVEL: Jaylin Williams believes the Hoosiers' secondary, as good as they've played, still have room to improve. CLICK HERE
- JACK TUTTLE READY TO BE STARTER: Here's some background and quotes on Indiana's new starting quarterback Jack Tuttle. CLICK HERE
- PENIX OUT FOR SEASON: Michael Penix Jr. tore his ACL against Maryland and will be out for the year. CLICK HERE