In Cincinnati, resilient Indiana aims for a 4-0 start

In Cincinnati, resilient Indiana aims for a 4-0 start

Indiana is among the 33 undefeated teams and needed three comebacks to keep its record unblemished.

After a nightmarish 10-loss season, a fast start is exactly what Indiana needed, but staying unbeaten may prove difficult on Saturday when the Hoosiers visit Cincinnati for their final non-conference game.

“Our guys are excited about it,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said of facing a 2021 playoff team. “They understand that. Our preparation has to reflect that. It’s on our team, the leaders of this team Let’s talk about the guys in those roles right now and that leadership has to rise this week as we continue to grow.”

Indiana (3-0) is looking for a 4-0 start for the second time in three seasons, but those quick starts are interspersed in a 2-10 campaign.

Indiana scored the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining to beat Illinois in its season opener, then overcame an early 10-point deficit to beat Idaho in Week 2. Last week, the Hoosiers erased an eight-point deficit , scoring the tying TD. with 47 seconds remaining and kicking the game-winning 51-yard field goal in overtime for a 33-30 victory over visiting Western Kentucky.

Rallies have forced Indiana to constantly use their passing game, as Connor Bazelak completed 34 of 55 passes for 364 yards last week. His completion rate of 56.6 percent is the second lowest in the Big Ten.

Cincinnati (2-1) is averaging 41.7 points per game and its 17 touchdowns are the most in the AAC. After opening with a 31-24 loss at Arkansas, the Bearcats posted double-digit wins over Kennesaw State and Miami (Ohio).

The Bearcats followed up their 63-10 loss over Kennesaw State by overcoming a 10-point deficit for a 38-17 win over Miami. Ben Bryant threw for 337 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Charles McClelland added 101 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

“We’re figuring out what ‘us’ is like,” Bearcats coach Luke Fickell said. “I think there’s a little more of a calm nature than last year.”

Indiana leads the all-time series 9-4-2. The schools are meeting in Cincinnati for the first time since 1998. Last season, the Bearcats intercepted Michael Pennix three times and overcame an early 14-point deficit for a 38-24 win at Indiana.

–Field level media

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