IU remains unbeaten with 31-24 win at Wake Forest #iufb

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Handling success was the next step in Indiana’s quest toward a transformative season, and on a moist afternoon in ACC country, the Hoosiers authored their most complete game to date.

It wasn’t without a late scare, but the 31-24 victory over Wake Forest provides Indiana with its first 4-0 start since 1990, a season-opening run that’s seen the Hoosiers march closer to the breakthrough they’ve aimed to find.

In doing so, IU left the East Coast with a win that was built on equal parts offense and defense. IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld wasn’t crisp, but was good enough to throw for 205 yards, including touchdown passes to Simmie Cobbs and Ricky Jones. On the ground, running backs Jordan Howard and Devine Redding combined for 216 yards and a score.

Saturday also produced Indiana’s most encouraging defensive effort of the young season, a performance pieced together against a true freshman quarterback. The Hoosiers sacked Wake’s Kendall Hinton six times, stuffed the Demon Deacons’ run game to 99 yards and held together after a late-game push by Hinton.

The Hoosiers return home to host Ohio State next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Sudfeld completed 19 of his 34 passes, opening the scoring with a back-shoulder touchdown pass to Cobbs midway through the first quarter. After Hinton opened the second quarter with a game-tying 15-yard touchdown run, Sudfeld unleashed his best throw of the season to put the Hoosiers ahead for good.

The IU quarterback scrambled right on second-and-eight, threw off-balance and found Ricky Jones for the 28-yard touchdown. The impressive display of athleticism and accuracy closed a 10-play, 92-yard drive that put Indiana ahead 14-7 at the 11:05 mark of the second quarter. The drive was set up by quality runs by both Howard and Devine Redding, who rattled off six consecutive runs (averaging 6.6 yards per carry) to take the Hoosiers deep into Wake territory.

The teams traded field goals, including a 30-yard strike by IU’s Griffin Oakes to close the half and give IU a 17-10 lead — its first halftime advantage of the season.

The Hoosiers took a two-score lead midway through the third quarter on an 11-play, 80 drive that ended on a two-yard run by Howard. The Indiana running back received an extra boost from defensive tackle Darius Latham, who lined up as the fullback and blew up a Deacon defensive back up the middle. Howard finished with 168 rushing yards for IU.

A 20-yard interception return by safety Tony Fields five minutes into the final quarter stood as Indiana’s final — and most important — score.

Penalties were one of the few blights on the day for Indiana, which was flagged 11 times for 119 yards. But the Hoosiers ability to hold off the Deacons with their best defensive performance of the season gives Wilson’s team another degree of confidence entering next week’s Big Ten opener against the Buckeyes.

Hinton, who made his first career start in place of the injured John Wolford, was once again more effective with his legs than his arm. The Deacons quarterback threw for 245 yards on 19-of-46 passing, while rushing for two scores, including a 14-yard scramble late in fourth quarter.

The Hoosiers, however, didn’t allow the reigning ACC Rookie of the Week to make the easy plays early in the afternoon. Indiana, which had only three sacks entering the weekend, doubled that mark on Saturday, while forcing a few hurried throws, too. The tone was set in the first quarter when IU began the contest with three consecutive three-and-outs. Latham recorded IU’s fifth sack late in the third quarter, getting to Hinton on a three-man rush.

Hinton produced the bulk of his passing yards for the end, marching the Deacons 90 yards in 59 seconds to find the end zone on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tabari Hines. It brought the Deacons within seven points with 2:33 remaining, and after recovering the onside kick, Wake Forest kept its ensuing drive alive on a pass interference call against Rashard Fant on a 4th-and-18 pass deep downfield.

The Deacons used the call to march as far as the IU 32, but a holding call against Wake forced a 4th-and-20 pass that was batted away by Fant in the end zone to seal the win.

32 comments

  1. IU needs to learn how to play the game for four quarters. IU needs to learn how to play with the lead. On those rare occasions when they’re playing one, IU needs to learn how to finish off an inferior opponent. They obviously don’t have a killer instinct. I think they’re going to get a front row seat for a demonstration on how to do that next Saturday.

    For any of you older fans, is this how Pont’s 67 team, known as the cardiac kids, did it in the first half of that season? Please, make me feel better by telling me that’s how they started that magical season back then.

  2. Hoosiers played a solid game on the road. The end was a little pucker inducing, but there were some specious calls along with a couple of freak plays. Still, after they happened, we can’t stop covering guys.

    Bring on the buckeyes.

  3. Good road win. Better defensive effort in the 1st half. 3rd quarter defensive effort looked like the previous 3 games (solid). 4th quarter defensive effort looked like the previous 3 games (shaky). I wouldn’t mind seeing a little killer instinct in all three phases in the 4th quarter. Go Hoosiers!!!

  4. It is great to come home 4-0 heading into playing OSU. There are several shortcomings but the main one I have is our play calling on passes has gotten vanilla since Johns became our OC. I wish he would watch some of the other spread teams and get an idea on how to be more dynamic. The good defense in the B1G will eat up most of our passes and we can’t count on 200 yards rushing per game with our two backs.

    Give Nate and the receivers, including TEs a dynamic game to catch passes in so they have a chance to be even more successful in the B1G.

    Podunker, yes the 1967 RoseBowl team won close games and used fake punts to score TDs to pull out wins.

  5. Po I think some of the lack of killer instinct came from the play calling by the coaching staff. Offense was very conservative most of the day and defense at the end was not as aggressive and I would bet that is a reflection of the play calling by both the offense and defense coordinators.

  6. No problem, Mike. Maybe you can bring back the LiveChat during the OSU game….?

    Wow …ND giving up 20 points in the first half to UMass….Does this play to our favor for GameDay?

  7. The Wake Forest’s QB running right over our d-back(think it was around the 10-yard line) for a second half score was beyond pathetic tackling. That’s about as bad as fundamentals can get. .Our defender had him squarely lined up and just let the Wake QB run right through him….

    Sudfeld made some nice plays though. The pass to the end zone for six while scrambling hard to his right stands out as one of the better plays I’ve seen him make.

  8. BOOM 4-0
    iuh1992 I think you’re right. I have to wonder if it was by design so as to not show OSU any more of what IU can do. If I had been asked before the game how I thought the Hoosiers would play with a comfortable lead I probably would have described something like we just watched. So I’m not to surprised. With exception of covering the TE(again)the IU D did fine against an OL that could have had a ton of penalties called on them. I won’t mention 3 atrocious calls made against IU. I watched ILB Simmons especially well the whole game. He is the leading tackler on the team and he does it by anticipating the ball carrier. He does it so well because it is the only method available to him to overcome not being blessed with greasy fast speed. On the missed tackles he is seen involved in it is because he over anticipated or initiates his anticipation to early. Maybe V13 can describe it better but that is how I see it. I do not know how you can train him differently from doing so. Of course the D is always asked to react don’t think. A good win.

  9. BOOM 4-0 (non conference) at the start of big 10 play, may fans and experts said its not possible….Now can we handle the little bit of success we have achieved and maybe (hopefully) win two games (Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State or Rutgers) in the next four tries….someway/somehow this team, makes every game exciting….Great to be 4-0 will enjoy it and hope the rest of the IU football season is this exciting.

  10. It’s a win. Was Tim Brandt drunk? The most basic facts seem to elude him.
    IU was clearly the better team, take away a few foolish penalties and a few complete crap plays by Wake and it’s a blowout. Of course IU can’t make anything easy. I’ll take it.

  11. HC its great to be able to say IU football is 4-0 this year isn’t it. As far as teaching LBs how not to over run plays I always taught them to mirror the RB steps so if he is running parallel then do the same until finding green grass and fill the gap. Of course this means you have to count on your teammates to set the edge for the defense. Then when the RB steps to the LOS take the same angle the RB does so you don’t over run the ball. I understand that in college the athletes are better and it is tougher to get a clean shot on the runner. It has a lot to do with running with your shoulders square to the LOS. Another big part is to know when to breakdown and strike through the runner with the proper target. Some of it is also a knack that some players have that comes naturally for them.

  12. A great win against a good team on the road! We keep getting better with every game which is encouraging. A bowl is now a definite possibility! That said, the secondary which we knew was vulnerable does not seem to be progessing at the rate of the other units and that is concerning.

  13. Did anyone watch the end of that TCU/Texas Tech game? A great game that was back and forth all day and the best catch in college football this year to win a game.

  14. After the IU game watched the Gators & Vols. Hell of a game. Gainesville is a fun place on a football weekend. Dustin still in Knoxville? He’ll have plenty to write about.

  15. Ron,
    Dustin is still here in Knoxville writing great articles..Also I think IU played a ton of players today. A win is a win. I’m afraid we are going to have problems with running quarterbacks. Go IU.

  16. Only Indiana can make a win on the road, to big 5 power conference team, feel like a loss. At the end of the 3rd quarter IU was playing good sold football and up 31-10. Then the coaches took the foot off of the gas. The offense went into a shell, did not attack, was not aggressive trying to score despite having the best RB, the best QB, good receivers, and a dominant O line! The defense, which always has a hard time tackling, went into “prevent” mode, missed tackles, missed assignments, was not aggressive and gave up 14 points to an offense that was not really any good. IU pretended it had never heard of an onsides kick and players ran away from the ball rather than trying to catch it and go to the ground. Only a last second tip of a pass prevented a tie or worse! The coaches don’t get it! For IU to win we must go all out aggressively to score on every possession like Oregon! On defense we must attack and go for turnovers on every possession! Conservative play calling and “hold-on” defense just will not work for IU!

  17. 4-0 and things aren’t working? Hopefully, Wilson will get this figured out….I mean, it is IU Football. How dare he insult Crean with a winning streak!

  18. HH, I usually ignore your posts, but IU is 4-0 against the weakest part of our schedule and 3 out of the 4 games could have gone the other way in the 4th Q. Crean specializes in these kind of early season wins. Crean has trouble with wins in late February and March!

  19. Can’t argue with your last sentence…..Western Kentucky and Wake Forest would mop a Crean team off the court in hoops during February or March Madness.. And our basketball team would schedule every peanut school in the ‘Bluegrass State’ while never giving us back the storied rivalry with U. of Kentucky. We’ve dropped so low on the better side of the tracks that Northwestern at a BIG tournament becomes a “must win” game….Excellent response. .

  20. Wilson is 2 measly wins from a bowl game. Think about that, two measly wins. That’s the earliest in the season we can say that since before the days of Bashful Bill Lynch. To not find two more wins on the schedule with this O-line and key players in skill positions would be a colossal failure and a true indictment of the current regime.

    If you are still suspicious or unsold on Wilson, you can look at this next stretch as a win-win, in a way: either we see our first bowl in almost a decade, or the other shoe falls and the shortcomings of his tenure here are thrust into unavoidable view and maybe there is a regime change.

    I’ll take a shaky 4-0 if the narrative is “a team finding itself through winning close games”. However, I’ll need to see a Big 10 victory soon to convince me that the underlying narrative isn’t the same as it always was in the Lynch years: “full of cupcakes and unable to lift a fork when the steak arrives.”

  21. Seahawk-

    Don’t know what you think, but here’s what I think

    I used to roll out of bed and jump straight to my computer screen(such an addiction that I’d often do this before brewing my coffee), ….just to see what Husky Tom, in the very early hours before I’d rise, had posted on IDS’s Basketblog…. You were Verbal Art in Motion…You were the best damn writer.. Still the best I’ve ever encountered in my lifetime…..You lost interest in old Downing. Wish I could find some of those poems you’d write….and those tales of cobblestone streets, the smells of fresh-baked loaves of crusty French breads…..and places like Annecy that I shall never know.

    Yours truly,

    Johnnie Cochran

    P.S. Cutler is soft

  22. Downing- It’s 720 AM, I haven’t had my coffee yet, and here I am, checking to see if Harvard responded to my post. So, it’s mutual.

    I know you say the “great writer” thing with tongue in cheek. We all know darn well around here that when Harvard gets inspired, everything else pales in comparison to his enthusiastic, acerbic, flowing stream-of-consciousness sermons.

    As for me, I’m lazy. That’s the main reason I don’t come come around here no more. A lot of great bloggers on here who spend a lot of time constructing thoughtful, insightful points and observations. People don’t have much use for my tired old schtick and need to constantly reference the Huskies and Seahawks.

    How bout those Hawks by the way? Alas, they didn’t need much to solve the likes of Jimmy Claussen. Wish I could have seen Sherman cook up a pick-6 against Cutler and see his pouty face afterwards.

    Take care

    Husky

  23. No tongue in cheek whatsoever….Your writing has it all..

    A lot of great bloggers on here who spend a lot of time constructing thoughtful, insightful points and observations.

    Now you’re playing to the audience….I still have my doubts that some of these “great bloggers” are not just your creations…When you have a love of writing, it’s hard to just turn it off. You have the skills in writing to pull it off..My stumbling around with grammar is a bumpy road not disguised. I’ve had so many “oops” bombs on here that aliens may have picked up the signal…They’ll soon arrive ata random cornfield just outside of Chesterton to sing their version of a ‘Close Encounters of the Oops Kind’ …oops..oops …oops..oops..OOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPS!! They will ask for our leader: Mitch McGary.

    The Bears,,,,? I never thought IU Football would become more interesting to me than the Chicago Bears…I guess that’s what happens when a foolishly run organization commits so many millions to a soft QB from a basketball state. The didn’t learn their lesson with Rex Grossman. Did you know Jay Cutler’s dad played QB at Chesterton? I think the dad packed up the family for Santa Claus, Indiana, when Jay was in middle school…It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring.. not even .Mitch McGary, who still just a little mouse..

    Enjoy your Seahawks….Soon they’ll be gone as fast my ’85 Bears singing a Super Bowl Shuffle. Unless you’re the Yankees, or a steroid dealer, it’s difficult to stay on top of the world.

    But how are those Mariners doing? Everything hinges, my old best blogging friend… Chances come far and few..Fate dangles on a thread…Greatness often just out of reach the fingers stretching and stretching to just have a brief touch…. Kyle Schwarber and Jake Arrieta…now my left arm and my right …extending into the unknowns of faithful hearts far outside the ivy walls of Wrigley….hinging on the hopes it is finally time for Brickhouse, Ernie, and Santo to celebrate and uncork some champagne..

    You also take care…Hope your adjusting to life without beautiful IU coeds on every campus sidewalk strolled en route to Soma.

    Downing

  24. Let’s not equate clean grammar and a big vocabulary with good writing. Even if you have your occasional “oops” bombs, the point is that you are the one who is always filling the canvas with creations, putting your large palate of colors to the fullest use. I can’t even come close to claiming that. Where writing is concerned, I have a mind that has been zapped of any creativity by boring books, iPhones, and fantasy football.

    I love that you now talk IU football. It was such a struggle back in the day to get you to care about it. You always saw paying attention to IU football as being disloyal to the basketball team. You could never make a point about the football program that didn’t somehow reference basketball.

    Now, you seem to have developed an independent interest, although I suspect that deep down, you’re still watching the football team mainly just because you are dying to construct the narrative of Wilson as a type of “Anti-Crean.” Either way, good to see you on board, you have a lot to say about the pigskin.

    The Mariners fired their GM this year, which is about the best news I could have hoped for after yet another lost season. The guy was a true ignoramus who was rumored to have based his scouting on the lone categories of HR and RBI alone – the Anti-Billy Beane, if you will. Knew about as much about players as an average kid with a stack of baseball cards. The organizational problems go beyond Jack Z, though; the farm system is the worst in the country, and the ownership hasn’t had a clue for 15 years. SO I’m not sure where they are headed.

    Enjoy the heck out of the young Cubs. I hate this new wild card playoff thing; it really needs to be 3 games and not 1. Sad to think that Schwarber, Rizzo, Arrieta and the rest of the young guns could be a one and done after such an exciting season.

    Life is good – not much by way of beautiful co-eds, but I found a Soma equivalent with great espresso in a funky neighborhood. I was there today with my Seahawks cap on and my glasses, looking like Christian Slater in Mr. Robot.

  25. Seahawk Tom made a great post when he wrote, “If you are still suspicious or unsold on Wilson, you can look at this next stretch as a win-win, in a way: either we see our first bowl in almost a decade, or the other shoe falls and the shortcomings of his tenure here are thrust into unavoidable view and maybe there is a regime change.

    I’ll take a shaky 4-0 if the narrative is “a team finding itself through winning close games”. However, I’ll need to see a Big 10 victory soon to convince me that the underlying narrative isn’t the same as it always was in the Lynch years: “full of cupcakes and unable to lift a fork when the steak arrives.”

  26. Seahawk-

    I was going to respond again, but BP Oil just drilled into the gulf of our quiet diversions…..A thick slick washes ashore and, thus, I close the open door. Anyway, thanks for the kind words….

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