BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana's offense was struggling to get anything going against Ohio State last Saturday. The Hoosiers went scoreless in the first quarter as the Buckeyes held a 7-0 advantage.
But early in the second quarter, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. got out of the pocket and threw a 68-yard bomb to Miles Marshall, who got the ball down to the Ohio State 3-yard line, which led to Indiana's first points of the day.
"I'm really mad I didn't score," Marshall said Tuesday. "But, it's all right."
Marshall said there were a lot of guys on the sideline that told him they really needed that play, which allowed the Hoosiers to tie the game at 7-7.
"We came out kind of slow," Marshall said. "I feel like that kind of kick-started our offense."
Marshall's ability to make big plays has been something the coaching staff has seen in him ever since he got to Bloomington in 2018, but this season is when fans have started to see it come together on the field.
Through four games this season (he missed the game at Rutgers), Marshall has already eclipsed his receiving totals from a season ago.
In 2019, Marshall had 16 receptions for 196 yards and one touchdown while appearing in all 13 games.
So far in 2020, Marshall has 15 catches for 218 yards and one touchdown.
The sophomore receiver is averaging 14.5 yards per catch this season and 54.5 yards per game.
"I'm working on getting better every day and on the little things," Marshall said. "I think I'm getting a lot more opportunities this year with Nick Westbrook and Donavan Hale not being there. I'm getting more opportunities and more snaps. I'm just trying to make the most of those opportunities."
Indiana's receiving core has become a solid trio thanks to the progression of Marshall.
Whop Philyor is an energizer for Indiana while Ty Fryfogle is a more quiet personality. Receivers coach Grant Heard said Marshall fits right in-between those two in terms of how he carries himself.
Marshall is the tallest receiver of the three at 6-foot-4. His lone touchdown of the season came against Michigan, where Penix drew a defender offside, then threw it up to Marshall in the end zone, who just out-jumped the Wolverines' corner for the ball and scored the touchdown.
"If Mike gives us the opportunity to catch the ball, he has got to believe and trust in us that we will come down with it and make a play for him," Heard said. "He has done a great job and the guys have gone up and competed for the ball and made their plays."
When Marshall first got here as a freshman, he realized how intense Philyor and Fryfogle were in practice, which he believes has helped in a lot over the last few seasons.
Now, they make up a three-headed monster for Penix to spread the ball around to.
"Those guys always come out and practice hard," Marshall said. "I've just learned from guys like them how to practice and practice hard, and that's really helped me progress my game."
- PENIX BRINGS POISE TO POCKET: Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is calm, cool and collected under pressure this season. CLICK HERE
- TY FRYFOGLE EARNS BIG TEN HONORS: For the second-straight week, Ty Fryfogle has earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Honors. CLICK HERE
- LEBRON JAMES PRAISES INDIANA FOOTBALL: LeBron James, a lifelong Ohio State, was impressed with what he saw from Indiana on Saturday. CLICK HERE