Indiana achieves first 4-0 start of Wilson era
Final: Indiana 31, Wake Forest 24
Telling stat: Jordan Howard’s 168 rushing yards
I wish I could pick up 168 yards and not be at my best. Howard, who came into the day leading the nation in rushing, only improved on his ridiculous start. He didn’t, however, bust the big play we were all waiting for. Howard racked up those 168 yards without having any run longer than 18 yards. That tells you how methodical the UAB transfer was. Effective when they needed them to be, Howard picked up several third-and-short situations and kept drives alive for the Hoosiers. Meanwhile, no Demon Deacon had more than 57 yards rushing.
Key play: Tony Fields’ 20 yard-INT return for TD
With Wake Forest set on making it a one-possession game, Fields stepped up with the defensive play of the game. He picked off Kendall Hinton and returned it 20 yards for a score to give IU a 21-point lead. Darius Latham provided the pressure in the end zone and forced a horribly thrown ball to Fields, who made an athletic play to give the Hoosiers their biggest lead of the day. It was the last time IU scored, and despite some late Wake Forest life, it was all the Hoosiers needed.
-IU had zero turnovers
The Hoosiers have always had something to prevent them from locking down that big road victory. A fumble here, an interception there. On Saturday, there was no back-breaking turnover to spoil IU’s effort. Nate Sudfeld wasn’t perfect, but he managed not to turn the ball over in his 34 attempts. He only has one interception all year, by the way. Even better, the Hoosiers didn’t cough up the football. Howard and Devine Redding took care of the ball and didn’t give Wake Forest the short field it desperately needed to get over the hump.
-Tegray Scales is back
Man, did the Hoosiers need this guy back in the middle of their defense. In his second game of the season, Scales stepped up with a team-high nine tackles and two sacks to help stall the Wake Forest offense. It was obvious how badly the Hoosiers needed his pass-rushing skills in their first two games. Scales wasn’t the only one harassing Hinton. Zack Shaw, Marcus Oliver, Nick Mangieri and Latham all had sacks. If that’s a sign of things to come, the Hoosiers’ issues in the secondary might not surface as much.
What it means: IU HAS to go bowling
The first 4-0 start of the Kevin Wilson era means Hoosier fans can and should expect this team to get to that six-win mark. Credit Wilson righting the ship despite some key early suspensions and defensive issues. IU didn’t always make non-conference play look pretty, but all that matters is that the Hoosiers are 4-0 heading into a showdown against No. 1 Ohio State. Bloomington will be the place to be next Saturday.