With 10:41 remaining in the second quarter, Indiana freshman quarterback Chris Covington was in an unfamiliar role Saturday after teammate and junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld left the game with a shoulder injury.
He had filled in for Sudfeld last Saturday against North Texas, but didn’t attempt a single pass. That would change Saturday against Iowa.
In replacing Sudfeld and starting, Covington completed 3-of-12 passes for 31 yards and two interceptions in IU’s 45-29 loss to Iowa Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
”A couple calls, he messed up a little and didn’t call it properly,” IU head coach Kevin Wilson said. “We didn’t communicate our assignments properly, looked kind of bad. But as the game went along, it was good experience (for him).”
Wilson said that with Covington in, it limited some aspects of the offense in regards to throwing the football, but also opened up some things with what Covington does in the run game.
”As we go, it’s kind of tough, because both of those guys are a little different,” Wilson said. “He’s very young compared to Nate, so as you practice there’s just certain plays that we aren’t going to do with him. It’s very difficult (because) you don’t want to practice a completely different technical offense for a backup quarterback.”
Covington appeared to be most comfortable using the read option while running the offense. On his first drive leading the offense, he handed the ball off to junior running back Tevin Coleman, who took it 45 yards for a touchdown.
But it wouldn’t be that easy for Covington the rest of the game.
On his second drive of the game, Covington had an eight-yard run and an incomplete pass. He didn’t complete any of his first four pass attempts, one of which resulted in an interception.
When he did complete his first pass, it resulted in a four-yard loss. His final pass was intercepted in the end zone.
Despite his mistakes, his teammates were still supportive of him.
”He came in and stepped up for Nate,” Coleman said. “He’s still a good player, so we’re still going to keep working with him and doing things in practice.”
Covington wasn’t the only quarterback who could’ve stepped in to replace Sudfeld. Redshirt sophomore Nate Boudreau and redshirt freshman Zander Diamont were also options.
But Wilson said he decided to go with Covington over Boudreau because Boudreau wasn’t as talented, while Diamont would’ve lost his redshirt this season had he played.
”Right now, Chris Covington is hands-down the best,” Wilson said. “He handled it pretty good today.”
Wilson was also optimistic of Covington going forward.
”Outside of maybe one errant throw I didn’t like, he was OK,” Wilson said. “We’ll keep building him. He’s a good young player."Coverage Central: Iowa 45, IU 29
Coleman surpasses 1,000 yards
Game Analysis: Iowa
Analysis: Can Covington be the answer?