Breaking it down: IU seeking first 4-0 start since 1990
Who: Indiana vs. Wake Forest
When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: BB&T Field, Wake Forest
Spread: Indiana -3.5
Matchup to watch: Jordan Howard vs. Brandon Chubb
Who leads the nation in rushing? It isn’t Leonard Fournette or Ezekiel Elliott. It’s Howard. He’s been dominant in his first three games in an IU uniform. Standing in his way of another standout performance is Chubb, who is among the top tackling linebackers in the country. Howard hasn’t been stopped yet, and the Demon Deacons haven’t seen anyone with his mix of power and speed this season. Chubb will have the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with Howard once he gets to the second level. He’ll need some help.
Thing I’m excited for: Run, Ricky, Run
It’s safe to say there’s a new go-to wideout for Nate Sudfeld. In case you haven’t heard, Ricky Jones is off to a blazing start in his first year starting with 368 receiving yards, good for second in the Big Ten. He’s small, but the dude can fly. He’s filling the Shane Wynn role on the offense, with touchdowns of 69 and 71 yards already. There were question marks about who was going to stretch the field for IU after J-Shun Harris went down in the preseason. But Jones has clearly proven he’s a worthy candidate to fill that speedster void.
Number to remember: 1990
That’s the last time IU started a season 4-0. Sure, the 2010 team was undefeated in non-conference play, but the Hoosiers lost in their B1G opener to Michigan in Week 4. This is a chance to do something that hasn’t been done since any IU players were born. All things considered, that would be a minor miracle. Nobody even knows the last time IU was favored in a non-conference road game. What’s next on the schedule? No. 1 Ohio State to kick off B1G play. Not that IU would have much of a chance of knocking off the Buckeyes, but could you imagine the hype for that one, especially if College GameDay came to Bloomington? Not to get ahead of myself, but that would be a tremendous boost for this program, to say the least.
Prediction: Indiana 31, Wake Forest 28
The Demon Deacons will likely be starting backup quarterback Kendall Hilton, who shined after taking over early against Army last week. The IU defense is last in the country in pass defense, so it’s not a bad situation for Hilton to get his first career start. But IU’s offense is clicking right now with the balance its been searching for in the Kevin Wilson era. That lifts the Hoosiers to another nail-biter victory and that coveted 4-0 start.