CINCINNATI, Ohio – Cincinnati (3-1, 0-0 AAC) overwhelmed Indiana (3-1, 1-0 B1G) on all aspects of the game in the first half to cruise to a 45-24 victory over the Hoosiers. Indiana was the heavy underdog and showed they have a long way to go before they can face a team such as Cincinnati on the road.
This match featured the 2020 vs 2021 AFCA College Coaches of the Year facing each other with Tom Allen being the 2020 winner and Luke Fickell being the 2021 winner. Tom Allen and crew were outcoached the entire first half of game and never found significant momentum to capitalize on in the second half.
Cincinnati has one of the toughest venues to play at in all of college football. They have won 28 straight prior to today and put up a monster test for the Hoosiers who had yet to play an away game this season. Indiana tried to prepare for this by practicing with loud music and crowd noise, but it ultimately did not make a difference today.
The game started early with not many points on the board as Indiana and Cincinnati were tied 3-3 late in the first quarter despite miscues on the Indiana offensive side. Connor Bazelak had an early mistake with an interception deep in Indiana territory that set up Cincinnati for an easy field goal after a good defensive stop by Indiana.
However, the game quickly broke open for Cincinnati.
They challenged Indiana deep in their secondary with a 75-yd pass to Tyler Scott on the first play of a a drive. The points in the first half did not stop piling on after that either. Blown tackles, a fumble that resulted in a takeback for a touchdown, and dropped passes marred the first half for the Hoosiers who trailed by a whopping 38-10 at the end of the first half.
The second half started with a handful of errors by Cincinnati and they overall were flatfooted to start the half. The third quarter came and went with only Indiana adding points to make the game competitive once again. The Hoosiers’ defense played very well keeping Cincinnati to no points on the quarter while Indiana chipped away at the lead to make it 38-17. This could have been closer but a missed opportunity arose when Indiana failed to score from the 5-yd line off a missed throw from Bazelak to McCulley.
Shaun Shivers added his second touchdown of the day on a 47-yd run early in the fourth quarter to put the Hoosiers down by 14. The Bearcats were very one-dimensional all second half with focusing on the run game that was not successful, but enough to bleed out most of the clock.
The players of the game were easily Cincinnati QB Ben Bryant and his WR duo Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker. They opened up the game early for Cincinnati and made it unreachable for the Hoosiers. They did not play well the second half, but the game was out of reach early for Indiana.
Overall, Indiana had plenty of opportunities to make the game more competitive and ultimately even win the game, but on key plays, Connor Bazelak and the rest of the offense failed to capitalize.
Indiana’s next game comes up on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Nebraska (1-3, 0-1 B1G) as the Hoosiers wrapped up non-conference play. The Cornhuskers have struggled immensely this year, but look to regain ground after firing Scott Frost. The last time Indiana played Nebraska was 3 years ago in Lincoln, Nebraska when Indiana won 38-31 and acquired bowl eligibility that game. The game time and TV coverage is still TBD.
Photo by Indiana Football