INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — In a tale of two halves, the Indiana Hoosiers (1-2, 0-1 B1G) fell short in completing an unlikely comeback and ultimately fell to the Louisville Cardinals (3-0, 1-0 ACC) in a final score of 21-14 in the first start for Tayven Jackson as Indiana’s QB1.
The first drive of the game was the best drive during Indiana’s first half that was marred with mistakes and inability to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Tayven Jackson came out of the gate hitting his first two passes of the game to standout RB Jaylin Lucas. They marched into Louisville territory with momentum only to fall short on executing on several running plays and a missed pass which forced Indiana to rely on P James Evans who pinned the Cardinals inside their 10-yard line.
It was at this point that the Indiana defense and offense failed to regain that initial momentum. Louisville marched down the field on a 10 play, 71-yard drive only to miss their field goal. This was the only drive the entire first half that Louisville failed to score a touchdown.
The remainder of the half had the Hoosier offense return to poor old habits including miscommunication between Jackson and the Indiana WR corp. Routes were not well executed and there was consistent pressure on Jackson to make quick throws. The most costly of these mistakes was interception near the end of the first quarter led to Louisville’s first touchdown just two plays later on one of Jackson’s handful of overthrown passes that were nearly impossible to reel in.
The defense did not help the stagnant offense either. There were multiple blown coverages on deep passes including the 85 yard touchdown from Louisville QB Jack Plummer to WR Jamari Thrash. These miscues put increased pressure on the Indiana offense to perform and ultimately led to a 21 point lead over the scoreless Hoosiers at the half.
However, Indiana returned in the second half with life.
They pulled off a risky, but well-advised onside kick to lead off the half with the ball. Coach Tom Allen had a clear plan on how to score early in the second half and the Hoosiers were on the board after two passes to Jaylin Lucas for a combined 51 yards on the drive.
The remainder of the game showed a reinvigorated, aggressive Indiana team that almost completed the 21-point comeback to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Despite doubling the first half’s yardage and impressive play by Jackson and Lucas, Indiana was unable to execute down the stretch due to their first half struggles.
Of note, Jackson almost had his own version of the Michael Penix pylon lunge that he did against Penn State in 2020. Unfortunately, he fell short and the Hoosiers were unable to convert on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line.
Ultimately, Indiana has a long way to go to compete in the deep Big Ten conference. It is expected that they will continue to struggle down the stretch this season, but there were exciting moments today that should be reassuring for the future of the football program. Tayven Jackson is absolutely the QB1 for the team and with continued development, will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the conference.
Indiana will take on Akron (1-1, 0-0 MAC) in Indiana’s final non-conference matchup of the season. They will face off next Saturday in Bloomington with the time still TBD. The last time these teams squared off was in 2010 with Indiana winning 35-20 behind QB Ben Chappell’s 4 touchdown passes. Indiana leads the all-time head to head with a record of 3-0.
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