Indiana’s first road trip of the season is a vendetta.
In a Week 3 encounter between Indiana and Cincinnati last season at Bloomington, the Hoosiers lost 38-24 after losing 0-15 in the fourth quarter to a Cincinnati team that went on to make the college football playoffs .
The loss still hurts for returning Indiana players, and even the incoming transfers are feeling what’s at stake after last season.
“Since I’m a freshman,” said North Carolina transfer wide receiver Emery Simmons. “I don’t quite understand what happened last year but I saw the game myself. In the opening weekend I saw a few highlights and everything but I’m sure these guys should have won, we should have won here last year must.” . I know if we go to them and play away and they’re our first away game, I know we’ll be proud of it.”
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How to watch Indiana Hoosiers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
- Who: Indiana Hoosiers (3-0, def. Western Kentucky 33-30 in Week 3) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1, def. Miami (OH) 38-17 in Week 3)
- What: Last non-conference matchup of the Indiana season. Indiana coach Tom Allen stands 14-1 all-time in the regular season against non-conference opponents, with their only loss coming in 2021 to Cincinnati.
- When: 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 24
- Where: Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
- TV: ESPN2
- Announcer: Beth Mowins (play-by-play), Kirk Morrison (analyst), Stormy Buonantony (sideline)
- Electricity: Watch fuboTV
- Radio: Indiana Hoosiers Sports Network, Sirius/Online: XM (195 or 385) // SXM App (957 or 975)
- radio announcer: Don Fischer (play-by-play), Rhett Lewis (analyst), Joe Smith, John Herrick
- Point distribution: Cincinnati is a 16.5-point favorite over Indiana and the over/under stands at 57.5 points as of Friday afternoon, according to website SIsportsbook.com.
- Season totals: Indiana’s 2022 regular-season over/under aggregate win was 4 before the 23-20 win over Illinois, according to the FanDuel Sportsbook.
- Last season’s records: Indiana was 2-10 overall in 2021 with a 0-9 record in Big Ten play. Cincinnati was 13-1 overall in 2021 with a 9-0 record in American Athletic Conference play. The Bearcats were No. 4 in the 2022 College Football Playoff, losing 27-6 to No. 1 seed Alabama.
- Series history: Indiana leads the all-time streak 9-4-2 with wins in five games lost from their last six games.
- Last meeting: In Week 3 of the 2021 season, the Hoosiers went 14-0 up, but Indiana’s all-American linebacker Micah McFadden was ruled out for targeting late in the second quarter. Still, the Hoosiers clung to a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Indiana running back Tim Baldwin Jr. lost a fumble at the Cincinnati 2-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw an interception deep into Indiana’s territory just over three minutes from time. Cincinnati beat Indiana 15-0 in the fourth quarter en route to a 38-24 win in Bloomington, Indiana. Penix completed 17 of 41 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Indiana running back Stephen Carr had 21 rushes for 52 yards and caught two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver DJ Matthews led the Hoosiers with 120 yards on five receptions, and tight end Peyton Hendershot caught six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Indiana defensive end Ryder Anderson totaled eight tackles and two sacks. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 20 of 36 pass attempts for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and 10 rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford gained 66 yards and had two touchdowns on 20 carries, and wide receiver Alec Pierce led the Bearcats with five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
- Trainer: Luke Fickell is in his sixth year as Cincinnati head coach and received eight National Coach of the Year awards in 2021. He has led the Bearcats to a 50-16 record, including a 22-2 stretch in the 2020 and 2021 seasons where the only losses were to Georgia and Alabama. Under Fickell, Cincinnati has won back-to-back American Athletic Conference championships and played in the college football playoffs last year. Nine high program ranked players were selected for the 2022 NFL Draft, finishing third behind Georgia’s 15 and LSU’s 10. Fickell played nose guard at Ohio State from 1992 to 1996 before spending 16 seasons on the Buckeyes’ coaching staff. Tom Allen enters his sixth season as Indiana head coach with an overall record of 29-32. Allen’s 29 victories ranks seventh among all-time Indiana football coaches, behind John Pont’s 31 victories from 1965 to 1972. Allen’s 26 victories in his first five seasons were tied most by a Hoosier head coach with the program’s all-time most successful coach, Bill Mallory, scored. Allen is 0-3 in bowl games and most recently lost 26-20 to Ole Miss at the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021.
- Weather: According to Weather.com, by 3:30 p.m. ET in Cincinnati, Ohio, it will be 73 degrees with a 15 percent chance of rain and 9-mph southwest winds.
Three things to see from Indiana
The Indiana offense has 91 points in its first three games, which is the Hoosiers’ highest-ranked three-game streak since Weeks 3-5 of the 2020 season.
However, only six of those 91 points came in the first quarter. Despite their 3-0 record, Indiana has trailed each of their first three games at halftime. When asked what changed for the offense at the end of games compared to the beginning, Indiana’s offensive coordinator said third-down execution and overly aggressive game calls were factors.
“Take the last game, for example,” Bell said. “I thought I was a little over aggressive in the goal zone because I thought they were moving the ball. I don’t mean that in any way, shape, form or fashion as something against our defense, it’s just the way they do. We’re very similar stylistically, so I thought once we got to the 20-yard line I got a little too aggressive, made some zero yard plays, made shots, tried to push the ball, shoved the ball and forced the problem a bit. So I was just as involved with it as anyone else. Now are there some things we need to clean up, is there any execution? Yes absolutely.
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While it’s a good sign that Indiana has been able to make offensive adjustments and create late-game magic with new quarterback Connor Bazelak, it’s not a reliable long-term winning formula. On the road against a strong Cincinnati squad this weekend, an early deficit will be much more difficult to overcome.
Curb the run
One of Coach Tom Allen’s biggest frustrations this season has been Indiana’s run defense. The Hoosiers allowed 216 rushing yards and 6.0 yards per carry against Western Kentucky last week and have conceded seven rushing touchdowns in their first three games.
Western Kentucky rushed just 33 yards in the first half last week, but Indiana allowed gains of 59 and 29 yards in the second half.
“I felt like I adjusted some things too much at half-time to try to get help there and it didn’t work, so I take the blame for that,” Allen said. “We had some missed tackles that I wasn’t happy about, especially with our perimeter guys I think. Our DBs need to do a better job, especially some of our 2s.”
Cincinnati has three running backs with over 100 rushing yards this season, led by senior Charles McClelland, who has carried the ball 33 times for 211 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, Cincinnati averaged five yards per carry in their first three games.
“Next Man Up” on the offensive line
Indiana senior right tackle Matthew Bedford ripped against Illinois in Week 1 after starting all 12 games last season. In what Allen called a “freak accident” warming up, starting center Zach Carpenter suffered a hand injury and did not play Western Kentucky.
Division II West Texas A&M transfer Parker Hanna replaced Bedford against Illinois, and redshirt student Caleb Murphy was starting the first game of his college career when Carpenter went down. Murphy was Indiana’s Offensive Player of the Week in the win over Western Kentucky, and Allen was proud of his ability to fill in at short notice.
“That didn’t surprise me [Murphy] played so well because he’ll give you everything for 60 minutes and beyond,” Allen said.
Heading to a matchup with a Cincinnati defense that has totaled 23 tackles for losses and seven sacks this year, keep an eye on how Indiana’s offensive line is adjusting after losing two starters to injuries.
Related Stories About Indiana Football:
- MEET THE BEARCATS: Indiana Football carries a 3-0 record in a tough street contest against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Coach Luke Fickell and Cincinnati defeated Indiana 38-24 en route to the college football playoffs last season. CLICK HERE
- LUKE FICKELL PREVIEW INDIANA: Only fifth-rounder Jerome Ford, who transferred from Alabama to UC, was rated more than three stars by recruiting services entering the college. CLICK HERE
- CHARLES CAMPBELL AND CAM JONES JOIN PODCAST: Welcome to Episode 4 of the Hoosier Roundtable Podcast. This week’s episode will see linebacker Cam Jones and kicker Charles Campbell scoring the crucial field goal in Indiana’s 33-30 win over Western Kentucky. CLICK HERE
- MYLES JACKSON EXEMPLARY FOR “BALL FINDS ENERGY”: Myles Jackson intercepted a pass and recovered from a fumble in Week 3 in Indiana’s 33-30 win over Western Kentucky. After moving from UCLA, he feels Indiana’s bull position is a perfect fit. CLICK HERE