Indiana Football: Three Keys to the Win over Wake Forest


Indiana Football goes 4-0 for the first time since 1990 with an important 31-24 win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, NC.

Nate Sudfeld and Indiana’s offense just kept cooking as they traveled to Wake Forest on an overcast day in the Tar Heel state. Despite a late game scare from the home team, Indiana’s quest for College Gameday to head to Bloomington can continue.

1) Nate Sudfeld settles in

Sudfeld had not seen the field since last October prior to the start of the year but has shaken off the rust that was hanging around, if there ever was any. The Modesto, California native found Simmie Cobbs for six yards and a TD on the second drive of the game and opened the second quarter with another touchdown, a 28-yard toss to Ricky Jones, his only two touchdowns on the day.

-=Related: IU Hoosiers are ‘Findings Ways’ to Win

The second half began much like the first except this time it was the opening drive of the half that the Hoosiers capitalized on, going 80 yards in 11 plays ending with a 2-yard TD rush by Jordan Howard up the middle. Indiana has now outscored opponents 51-0 in all four third quarters played this year. The only negative of the day was the Hoosiers failing to score on their lone offensive drive in the fourth quarter.

Although the Wake Forest defense had a surprising number of chances to pick off the man under center, they failed to force a single turnover and Sudfeld finished 19-34 passing with 205 yards and 2 TD.

Sep 26, 2015; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Indiana Hoosiers running back Jordan Howard (8) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

2) Jordan Howard and Devine Redding remain dominant

Jordan Howard and Devine Redding helped a lot on the running game, combining for 109 yards in the first half and 216 total as they pushed the Hoosiers offense down the field.

Indiana coaches and fans have been singing praises of Jordan Howard for weeks and the UAB transfer was top the nation heading into this week on total rushing yards. Today, Howard rushed for 168 yards on 33 attempts with one TD to bring his season total to 675 yards on 111 attempts. Devine Redding is also a big part of the rushing attack, going for 48 yards on 10 carries as well helping Indiana convert on key third down situations. The combination of Indiana’s rock solid backs is continually gaining ground while also giving the Hoosiers balance.

As for Howard, he remains one of the most prolific in his position nationwide and a determining factor for Indiana’s success going forward.

Sep 26, 2015; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Kendall Hinton (2) gets tackled by Indiana Hoosiers linebacker Marcus Oliver (44) during the second quarter at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

3) Defensive pressure

For the defense, not giving up big plays was a major point going into the game. Led by Tegray Scales, T.J. Simmons, and Zack Shaw, Indiana accomplished their mission.

After allowing just 10 points in the first half and extending their third quarter scoreless streak to a full 60 minutes, Indiana’s defense was looking good heading into the last bit. In the opening drive of the 4Q, Kendall Hinton was facing pressure from Darius Latham and tossed it towards the sidelines where Indiana’s Tony Fields was waiting. Fields picked it off at the WF 20 and took it to the house for a pick-six. At that point, the Hoosiers led 31-10.

Just when all seemed fine and dandy, the Demon Deacons came right back out and took four minutes to go 75 yards across the goal line to make it a two-score game, 31-17. Suddenly, Sudfeld and the offense stalled and, despite successfully sucking some time off the clock, gifted possession back to the home team. Never boring, the Hoosiers allowed Hinton and the offense to push back even more and Wake Forest took it 90 yards in 7 plays total, five of them going for 10 yards or more, to cut the lead to seven.

Even worse, the Demon Deacons attempted the onside kick with just over 3 minutes to go and recovered, giving them just one shot to tie the game. Where the secondary failed, though, the D-line rescued. Hinton pushed the ball into IU territory to keep the drive alive, but consistent pressure from Zack Shaw and Darius Latham forced Wake to attempt a 4th and 20 from the Indiana 42, which they failed to convert.

Overall, the Hoosiers had it all to play for (including their best start in the Kevin Wilson era) and got the job done when it mattered. Indiana fans should feel hopeful, as just two more wins makes the Cream & Crimson bowl eligible and three more wins guarantees a winning season for the first time since 2007.

Indiana Football will host the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes next Saturday at 3:30pm.

Next: Hoosiers in the NFL - Tevin Coleman

More from Ink on Indy