Takeaways: What we learned from Cincinnati Bearcats’ win over Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana Hoosiers running back Josh Henderson (26) attempts to break through the Cincinnati...
Indiana Hoosiers running back Josh Henderson (26) attempts to break through the Cincinnati Bearcats defensive line during the first quarter of the NCAA football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Indiana Hoosiers at Nippert Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.(Cincinnati Enquirer)
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 7:42 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (ENQUIRER) - “Hoosier daddy?” chants filled the air multiple times Saturday inside Nippert Stadium. It was that kind of a first half for the home team.

Ben Bryant needed only one half to throw for a single-game career-high four touchdowns (three to wide receiver Tyler Scott) as the University of Cincinnati football team defeated visiting Indiana, 45-24.

The victory marked 29 straight for the Bearcats (3-1) at their home stadium. It also was their second win in as many seasons against their Big Ten Conference foe Hoosiers (3-1). Cincinnati dropped Indiana 38-24 in Bloomington last year.

The Bearcats will hit the road to face Tulsa next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m on ESPNU.

Here’s what we learned from Cincinnati’s win:

Ben Bryant continues hot streak

Bryant entered Saturday as the American Athletic Conference’s leader in completion percentage (70.1). The senior right-hander continued that hot streak against Indiana.

Bryant completed 17 of his first 21 pass attempts and threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns before the break. Bryant’s 314 first-half yards broke Gunner Kiel’s previous first-half record of 302 against Houston in 2015.

Bryant cooled off a bit in the second half, finishing with 354 yards (matching a career high) on 24-of-40 passing, the four touchdowns and an interception.

Tyler Scoot makes history

After saying he and fellow wide receiver Tre Tucker joined each other at Cincinnati to make history, Scott went out and carved a few more lines in the UC record book.

Scott caught a 75-yard touchdown off the arm of Bryant in the first quarter. It was the Bearcats’ longest pass play since Scott linked up with Desmond Ridder for an 81-yard score on Ridder’s first throw of the 2021 campaign.

Scott caught two more touchdowns before halftime, becoming the only player in program history to haul in three touchdowns in a half.

Scott exited the field with 10 catches, 185 yards and the three scores. The last UC player with 10 receptions in a single game was Khalil Lewis in 2018.

Ivan Pace Jr. continues defensive dominance

Cincinnati senior linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. had been the most consistent performer on the Bearcats through the first three games. The Miami University transfer stayed steady on Saturday.

Pace entered the day averaging an AAC-leading 10.33 tackles per contest. He had 15 (seven solo) against the Hoosiers. He also added 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. Pace now has 46 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble this season.

Bryon Threats getting comfortable in defensive backfield

Cincinnati co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Colin Hitschler spent all spring and fall camps trying to find a safety to line up alongside Ja’Von HIcks. Hitschler settled on sophomore Bryon Threats.

Threats caught his first career interception on Saturday, returning it 28 yards to the Indiana 6-yard line. Unfortunately, Bryant and the offense stalled and UC had to settle for a field goal.

Threats also had nine tackles (seven solo) on the day.

Penalties and no running game

Cincinnati committed 10 penalties in each of its first three games. Head coach Luke Fickell called the issue an Achilles’ heel.

The Bearcats committed eight penalties for 77 yards on Saturday. That’s progress. But the 40 total rushing yards weren’t. Cincinnati went scoreless on eight straight possessions in the second half.

This story was written by our media partners at The Cincinnati Enquirer.