Well Hoosier fans, 3-0 was pretty great. Now we find ourselves at 3-1. Boy did the Hoosiers sure look like they may begin to make the 4th victory push of the season thanks to the Shivers touchdown and subsequent stop by the Indiana defense to start off the 4th quarter.
Starting that game with a Bazelak overthrown interception wasn’t the best. Just like he’s been coming out all year, he came out airing them over the head of his receivers. Bailing him out a bit, the Hoosiers were able to limit the damage to a field goal on that interception. But after that initial terrible drive Indiana really started to establish a run game and got in range to tie it up towards the end of the 1st quarter. While I would have loved to see finished drives, I was happy to see Indiana coming out to meet the bearcats tempo out of the gate. Matching the opponents tempo is far better than we’ve started the prior three games, so love to see the Hoosiers trending towards progress.
I was feeling great about Indiana’s start until Tyler Scott absolutely torched the Hoosier secondary to take the lead. After another touchdown, I thought it was a possibility that this got ugly before half. Walt Bell was creative to score and bring it to 10-17, catching the defense off guard with quick snap plays. So quick, even the ESPN cameras weren’t prepared. Glad to see the offense scoring and not only that, getting creative in order to score.
After seeing that drive by the Hoosiers and the Henderson touchdown, I felt reassured that Indiana came to compete today and not let this one get too crazy. That was until the second Tyler Scott touchdown.
Our secondary didn’t know what to expect? How? After the first torching you’d figure you’d see it. The slots going deep, I know they’ve got some burners but we can not get beat like that over the top that consistently.
After allowing an onslaught of damage in the first half the Indiana defense tightened it up. Holding Cincinnati very respectably. Mullen and the secondary were playing far better, and anticipating (which was lacking in the first half).
While the first half was the Ben Bryant show, Indiana looked to change that in the second half and absolutely did. The Hoosiers’ defense was swarming in the second, with everybody contributing. Shout out Demarcus Elliot for that huge sack giving the Hoosiers the ball back with 9 minutes left to go in the game, if it weren’t for our special teams unit being a bunch of glory hounds and roughing the kicker for it. So thickheaded. So dumb. While it was dumb, we still got the ball with decent field position thanks to Cincinnati miscommunication and a 4th down shotgun snap that was never supposed to happen.
Up until that drive ended with that Bazelak throw out of bounds, I really thought I was going to see Indiana pull out the 4th come from behind victory to start the season. While I didn’t get to see that, I saw plenty of other stuff, and all in all I am content with the Hoosier performance today.
We’ve got to be realistic as Hoosier fans. While I would have loved the Hoosiers to pull of a win in Cincy, I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect them to show up and give the Bearcats a much tougher game than the final score would suggest. While the score would suggest the Cincinnati Bearcats just handled business at home, I promise you Cincinnati is grateful we didn’t play 5 quarters. Indiana’s defense owned the second half. While Indiana’s offense was unable to ultimately capitalize on the play of the defense, I was still very impressed by all around on that side of the ball. Sure there were some boneheaded plays, but the Indiana Hoosiers should be proud of the fight they put up today. The Bearcats are a good football team, going into there turf and giving them a fight is more than respectable. We were a few blown plays from this one.
After that game I am firmly convinced Ben Bryant is a stud. He was making some solid NFL quality tosses today. He’s firing it at every level of the field. Cincinnati is lucky they got him back after they had initially went with Ritter. He was lost in the second, but what QB doesn’t take a half off here and there. Of course having a speed demon like Tyler Scott definitely helps your offense operate at a few more RPMs. That guy absolutely burned us each and every opportunity he had.
Losses stink, this I know. But, I am going to sleep alright tonight. The Hoosiers visited a very hostile environment (I think its up to 30 straight wins) and gave the Bearcats enough frights to walk away with nothing to be sorry for. Proud of our boys today. Excited to see what we can do against Nebraska if our the Hoosiers come out to compete again.
Onto the Huskers.
LUX ET VERITAS!!!