Indiana Football Must Get off to Fast Start vs Cincinnati

IU needs to start off hot right off the bat.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, UNITED STATES – 2021/09/11: Indiana University football coach Tom Allen waves to fans after the NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
The Hoosiers beat the Vandals 56-14. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Indiana Hoosiers are facing a make-or-break game this weekend. They will be playing at home this Saturday in Memorial Stadium where they’ll welcome the #8 ranked Cincinnati Bearcats.

It’s a 12-noon kickoff. Early weather forecasts project 86 degrees and sunny, a beautiful day for football and an IU upset.

Tom Allen’s team needs to weather the storm and take the game by hand early in the first quarter. The first two drives of the game have set the tempo for Indiana’s first two games and have had completely polar results.

In Week 1,  IU got off to the worst start imaginable.

They were gashed for a 4-play, 67-yard drive in just 1 minute and 25 seconds of game clock. Indiana trailed 7-0 right away and things only got worse. Mike Penix threw a frustrating pick-six on the drive’s third play for a walk-in Iowa touchdown. Just 2 minutes and 15 seconds into the game, Indiana was stunned and already down 14-0.

Iowa then tacked on two more touchdowns with another offensive TD and another Penix pick-six. The game was out of hand at 28-3 with just 2 minutes left in the first half.

Flipping the script, IU came flying out of the gate in Week 2. Granted they played a far more inferior opponent in Idaho, but they nonetheless took advantage of a great start.

The Hoosiers started the game on defense with an awesome three-and-out. They followed up with complementary football with an 18-play, 75-yard drive eating up 8 minutes of clock. IU then forced a fumble and scored just two plays later to go up 14-0.

Idaho responded with another three and out. The Indiana special teams blocked the punt and returned it for the score for the school’s first blocked punt TD in over 15 years. Just 13 minutes into the game, the home team coasted 21-0. Idaho had no answers on offense and punted again on the next two consecutive drives. IU scored again on offense followed by a highlight-reel 81-yard touchdown punt return by D.J. Matthews.

Indiana held a stronghold 35-0 shutout lead that they never would relinquish. The game’s final outcome was never in doubt and the Hoosiers cruised to a much-needed victory.

These two games illustrate the difference of how important it is to start a football game off the right way. It will be a rowdy crowd on Saturday and the Hoosiers need to keep the electric energy inside the stadium.