Rapid Reaction: Indiana unable to recover from disastrous first half in loss to Cincinnati
Final Score: Indiana 24, Cincinnati 45
Brief Recap: Indiana entered Saturday’s game facing big odds for a matchup against Cincinnati. In the end, the Hoosiers battled back from an early hole but fell flat.
Coming out to start the game, the Hoosiers faced an early 10-3 hold as the Bearcats were swinging early. A 75-yard touchdown pass was the first score of the game before the Bearcats really poured it on in the second quarter.
In the second, Cincinnati outscored Indiana 28-7 for a huge lead at halftime. Bearcat QB Ben Bryant threw a trio of touchdowns, but it was a defensive play by Cincinnati that was the finally blow of the half.
Just before the half, Connor Bazelak was sacked by Eric Phillips with a fumble forced in the process. Dominique Perry scooped up the ball for the easy defensive touchdown and huge halftime lead.
Remarkably, Indiana kept the Bearcats locked on 38 points until very late in the game. It gave Cincinnati a legitimate chance to produce a comeback, but the offense was unable to generate enough drives.
Bazelak was far from efficient while going 30-for-63 passing with 279 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and fumble lost. Indiana’s offensive line was a key issue in the game with the Hoosiers unable to keep Bazelak clean and free from pressure.
Key Player: Shaun Shivers and Cam Camper. With the offense struggling heavily in the game, Shivers and Camper were 2 bright spots.
Shivers led the rushing attack with 79 yards and a touchdown while remaining efficient with 4.2 yards per carry. He also had 5 catches for 22 yards and a touchdown.
In the passing attack, Camper was the most productive target for Bazelak. He recorded 10 catches for 126 yards, far and away the best totals on the team in the big loss.
Key Stat: 3, total turnovers for the Hoosiers to go with an 0-for-4 mark on 4th-down attempts. It may seem strange to say Indiana had a shot at this game in the second half, but the Hoosiers really did. The turnovers and missed opportunities quickly piled up in the loss.
What it means moving forward: The undefeated mark is gone with the Hoosiers falling to 3-1, but that is not the biggest cause for concern. Indiana has a lot of issues to fix, especially considering the hyper-competitive nature of the B1G East in 2022.
Tom Allen’s squad leaves nonconference play behind with a 3-1 overall record, so the team has done enough to put itself into the picture for a potential bowl game. But the conference schedule ahead poses plenty of issues and question marks for the program.