BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Welcome to our third live blog of the Indiana football season, and we have a rarity today. It's a strange sight at Memorial Stadium, which is sold out for Saturday's game between the Hoosiers and the No. 8-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats.
Cincinnati, which went undefeated in the regular season a year ago and its only loss was a 24-21 nail-biter to Georgia in the Peach. They were ranked No. 8 in the preseason as well, and have opened with victories against Miami of Ohio and Murray State.
Indiana is 1-1, losing its opener 34-6 at Iowa, and then beating Idaho 56-14 in the home opener a week ago. Cincinnati is a 3.5-point favorite today.
Here's how our live blog works. We will provide all the news and big plays here in real time, and we'll throw in some opinion as well. The most recent post is at the home, so keep it here all game, and just refresh as needed.
Here we go:
3:50 p.m. ET — And it’s over. Cincinnati wins 38-24. Stories and column to come
3:36 p.m. ET — Indiana's defense holds, with cornerback Reese Taylor breaking up a pass on third down. Cincinnati punts and Indiana takes over at its own 36-yard line with 4:27 to go. Indiana has only one timeout left, so this drive is pretty much the ballgame.
3:26 p.m. ET — On first-and-goal at the 2-yard line, Tim Baldwin was tackled for no gain, but Cincinnati thought it had a fumble recovery. He was ruled down by contact on the field, but it was reviewed and the ball was given to Cincinnati. A huge turnover in the red zone
3:21 p.m. ET — Huge call by Indiana to go for it on fourth down from its own 34-yard line, and they get it with a short pass from Michael Penix to Peyton Hendershot. Huge. Then on third down and long, Indiana audibles and hands off to Davion Ervin-Poindexter, who rushed for 39 yards. Penix finds Hendershot again, who breaks a tackle and gets a first down at the 5.
3:12 p.m. ET — Cincinnati goes back ahead on a touchdown pass from Desmond Ridder to Alec Pierce from 19 yards out. It was a great throw into the right corner of the end zone over the top of Indiana cornerback Tiawan Mullen. Cincinnati was going to go for two, but their sixth false start penalty of the game pushed them back. They decided to kick the PAT, which Cole Smith made. CINCINNATI 30, Indiana 24 with 12:13 left in the game. The scoring drive covered 75 yards in nine plays over 3 minutes and 26 seconds.
3:08 p.m. ET — A roughing the passer penalty on Thomas Allen gives Cincinnati a first down at the Indiana 38. That one hurt, because it came on an incomplete pass that would have forced third-and-10.
3:03 p.m. ET — And that's the end of the third quarter. If that 24-23 score sounds familiar, because that was my score in my GameDay Prediction this morning. Not sure it will up, but the blind squirrel theory is certainly in effect for the moment.
2:54 p.m. ET — Michael Penix finds D.J. Matthews downfield again, this time for 29 yards. Matthews is now over 100 yards for the game. It's his second career 100-yard game. He has 120 yards on five catches. Charles Campbell nails a long 49-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the third quarter, and the Hoosiers go back ahead 24-23. INDIANA 24, Cincinnati 23.
2:48 p.m. ET — Well, that lead didn't last long. Tre Tucker returns the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and the Bearcats go back ahead. The PAT is no good, however. CINCINNATI 23, Indiana 21.
2:45 p.m. ET — Indiana gets back out in front on a nice reverse to D.J. Matthews, which completely fooled the Cincinnati defense. He scores from 14 yards out. INDIANA 21, Cincinnati 17 with 3:54 to go in the third quarter. That might be the most impressive drive of Indiana's season, especially considering the circumstances.
2:42 p.m. ET — Great pump-and-go play by Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who find D.J. Matthews wide open on a 46-yard pass play. Then he hits tight end Matt Bjorson for 8 yards, getting the ball to the Cincinnati 18.
2:31 p.m. ET — Cincinnati gets the ball all the way down to the 16-yard line but Indiana's defense stiffens and forces a field-goal attempt. Indiana's Ryder Anderson is injured, but gets off the field under his own power. Cole Smith's field goal attempt from 36 yards was stopped for an Indiana penalty, so Cincinnati brings its offense back out on the field on fourth-and-1 and gets it to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, running back Jerome Ford scores and Cincinnati takes the lead. That's 17 unanswered points for the Bearcats on a 10-play, 79-yard drive. CINCINNATI 17, Indiana 14 with 5:47 to go in the third quarter.
2:24 p.m. ET — Indiana goes three-and-out again. In its last four possessions, Indiana has gained only 21 yards.
2:17 p.m. ET — Indiana gets a break there, with Cincinnati's Cole Smith hitting the left upright on a 50-yard field goal attempt that was plenty long enough. Hoosiers dodge a bullet there, and take over from the 32-yard line. The offense needs to do something here.
2:11 p.m. ET — Indiana gets the ball first in the third quarter but goes three-and-out. James Evans punts, but Cincinnati gets a big return and takes over at the Indiana 30. Bearcats with all the momentum now.
MY TWO CENTS: I have watched the replay of the Micah McFadden hit over and over, and I just hate that targeting rule on a play like that. Indiana's Jaren Handy had Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder wrapped up, and they came forward at McFadden got there. Sure, there was helmet-to-helmet contact, but not only with it unintentional, but it was inadvertent as well. There to be more than one level of penalty for something like that. That doesn't deserve an ejection, and it's completely changed the game.
1:41 p.m. ET — A bad interception there for Michael Penix Jr. You just don't make that throw in the final minute of the half. Cincinnati goes flying right down the field and gets a 32-yard field goal at the buzzer. At the half, it's INDIANA 14, Cincinnati 10.
1:33 p.m. ET — An early sign of missing Micah McFadden. Backup linebacker Thomas Allen fills the wrong gap, and Ridder runs for 20 yards. Jerome Ford scores a few plays later, and just like that, Indiana's lead is cut to 14-7. INDIANA 14, Cincinnati 7 with 1:33 to go.
1:25 p.m. ET — And now there's the FIFTH false start penalty for Cincinnati, which puts them in a hole on first down. It's another three-and-out, with defense end Ryder Anderson tipping the third-down pass. Play is stopped to review the play for targeting. Micah McFadden is called for targeting, and ejected from the game. That will have to get a closer look. It's a huge call because not only does Indiana lose its defensive leader, but that would have forced a Cincinnati punt, too. Now, the drive continues.
MY TWO CENTS: Define domination? We're getting it from Indiana's defense today for sure. Cincinnati has only 50 yards of total offense so far through the first 25 minutes of this game, and the Hoosiers have forced two turnovers, both of which have led to Indiana touchdowns. Need to finish the first half solidly now. They didn't do that last week.
1:16 p.m. ET — Yet another false start penalty on Cincinnati. That's four now. Amazing. And then Ryder Anderson forces a fumble on a strip sack, and it's recovered by linebacker Micah McFadden, who runs it down to the 6-yard line. Michael Penix then hits Stephen Carr in the left flat for a touchdown, and suddenly it's 14-0. INDIANA 14, Cincinnati 0 with 5:10 to play in the second half.
1:10 p.m. ET — We've got a timeout on the field with the ball at the 8-yard line. A big third-down play coming up for Indiana. Michael Penix Jr. throws behind Peyton Hendershot in the end zone, and it's intercepted by Cincinnati's Bryan Cook. That can't happen, either.
1:01 p.m. ET — Michael Penix completes his first deep ball, finding D.J. Matthews open up the right hash marks for 28 yards. A much-needed big-time throw.
MY TWO CENTS: There's been a lot of bashing of Indiana's offensive line so far this seson, but so far today the Hoosiers have 80 yards on 14 carries, an impressive 5.6 yards per carry. They needed a big-time performance like that against a well-respected defensive front.
12:52 p.m. ET — A mind-blowing decision by Indiana to go for it on fourth down at the 5-yard line. A Michael Penix quarterback sneak doesn't work and IU turns it over on downs. With all this momentum, you've got to take the points there. Charles Campbell is automatic. Take the points!!!
12:46 p.m. ET — That's the end of the first quarter, and the Hoosiers are dominating. It's 7-0 Indiana, and IU is marching. Total yards is a 110-34 advantage for the Hoosiers. Indiana has seven first downs so far, Cincinnati doesn't have any.
12:42 p.m. ET — Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr. runs for a first down, which is good. And then Miles Marshall makes a catch for another first down. A Miles Marshall sighting is a good thing for Indiana's offense. Cincinnati's defense looks tired already on this sunny day, and it's still in the first quarter.
12:34 p.m. ET — Indiana's defense has been great so far. Three drives, and nothing for. the Bearcats. Two three-and-outs and an interception. And the fourth drive starts with ANOTHER false starts. That's three now. Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder flushed out of the pocket on third down, and has to throw it away. Another Bearcats punt, and Indiana takes over at the 32-yard line. That's four possessions now, and Cincinnati still doesn't have a first down.
12:28 p.m. ET — Great run by Tim Baldwin Jr. on third down, running hard behind guard Mike Katic. First down at the 16. Indiana scores on the next play, with Penix finding tight end Peyton Hendershot open in the left flat and he breaks two tackles to get into the end zone. Charles Campbell makes the kick, and Indiana takes an early 7-0 lead. The drive covers 50 yards in six plays, and took 2 minutes and 22 seconds. INDIANA 7, Cincinnati 0.
12:25 p.m. ET — Indiana gets its first interception of the season, with Marcelino Ball hauling it in after a tip on third down. Great for him. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and talked often about how jealous he was that Indiana led the nation in interceptions per game and he had to miss out on all the fun. Big mistake for Cincinnati, and it quickly flips the field.
12:22 p.m. ET — Another three-and-out for Indiana, as well. Hoosiers QB Michael Penix Jr. is just 1-for-4 passing so far for minus-2 yards. The only completion was a little flip in the backfield to David Ellis on something of a jet sweep. It lost 2 yards. Offense out of sync so far.
12:15 p.m. ET — A second false start penalty on Cincinnati, who's buried near the north end zone where all the Indiana students are making a ton of noise. Definitely having an impact so far. Cincinnati completes another third-down pass, but it comes up short of a first down, too. Bearcats punt, and the Hoosiers will start at their own 26-yard line. Great job by Indiana's defense so far, with a nice assist from the student section.
12:12 p.m. ET — Plenty of Indiana celebrities in the house today, including former basketball great Eric Gordon.
12:10 p.m. ET — Indiana goes three-and-out as well, but it looks like the officials missed an offsides call on second down. Great punt by James Evans though, good for 55 yards, burying the Bearcats on their own 14-yard line.
12:05 p.m. ET — Indiana won the toss and elected to defer. Great coverage on the return, burying Cincinnati at the 19-yard line. Bearcats get 3 yards on the first run, but the sellout crowd is already a factor, forcing a false start on second down. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder hits Leonard Taylor for 9 yards, but it's short of the yard to gain and the Bearcats are forced to punt. Indiana takes over at its own 32-yard line.
MY TWO CENTS — This game will likely come down to which quarterback plays better. Desmond Ridder, a four-year starter for Cincinnati, has been crisp so far this season, throwing for six touchdowns and just one interception. Indiana's Michael Penix had three interceptions in the opener, but looked better last week and had a great week of practice, according to his pffensive coaches. He needs to be the better QB today, and Indiana's defense needs to make sure Ridder doesn't beat him with his legs either. That's been something of a trend in Indiana's losses the past few years. Justin Fields hurt them with his legs last year in the loss at Ohio State, and Penn State's Sean Clifford has been dangerous on the move against them each of the last two years.
11:20 a.m. ET — Readers are always crying out for my GameDay Prediction, and it was tough to do this week because I had a friend in my ear giving me a lot of grief. But here it is, the pick to win, and by how many. CLICK HERE
11:05 a.m. ET — Today's game is on national TV, and should get a great audience because it's on ESPN right after their popular pregame show, College GameDay. Here's all the information you need on how to watch. CLICK HERE