The Deacs take on Big Ten foe Indiana this Saturday as their quest for a perfect season rolls on. Although they will be without starting QB Kendall Hinton and RB Cade Carney up in Bloomington, Indiana has suffered some setbacks of their own in recent weeks that Wake Forest could take advantage of. The all-time head to head matchup will be renewed for the first time ever after IU’s 31-24 victory in 2015. Let’s take a closer look at some key statistics about the Hoosiers.
Five Fast Facts
Twins 500 Miles Apart: Wake Forest Football and Indiana Football might as well be long lost brothers with their historical backgrounds to date. The teams are nearly identical in a number of all-time college football categories since they began play. Have a look at the table below to see just how similar the last few decades have been in Bloomington and Winston-Salem.
Playmakers Missing: Last year a triple-threat attack of QB Nate Sudfeld, Jordan Howard, and Simmie Cobbs Jr. led IU to a victory on their trip to Winston-Salem. Sudfeld threw for over 200 yards and 2 TDs, Howard racked up 168 on the ground and reached the end zone once, and Mr. Cobbs caught 7 balls for 75 yards and recorded a score himself.
But if you are worried about having deja vu on Saturday, fear not as all three won’t be featuring for the Hoosiers this weekend. Sudfeld and Howard have made their way to the NFL after strong 2015 seasons and Cobbs will be sidelined with an ankle injury he picked up against Ball St. On top of that, All-American Offensive Guard Dan Feeney is listed as “Questionable” at the moment. Luck may finally go our way in a big game.
Dan Feeney is still listing at starting right guard. As always, Kevin Wilson two-deeps should be taken with a grain of salt. #iufb— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) September 20, 2016
Hold on to the Ball: The Deacs have done a decent job holding on to the football so far this year and that will have to continue against an IU defense that has forced six turnovers through two games. Indiana ranked in the top 25 last year in Turnover Margin at the end of the season as they averaged an INT and .8 fumbles recovered per contest. Especially on the road against a P5 team, preventing self-imposed opponent momentum is critical to a W Saturday.
Clock is Running: Indiana has also been very run-heavy through two games and is averaging nearly 50 attempts per game so far. Their average of 27.5 passes a game ranks them in the mid 80’s for passing attempt percentage in the NCAA and they have had RB Devine Redding put up over 100 yards in both games this season. The clock often will be rolling when Indiana has the ball so it’ll be key the Deacs don’t fall behind early.
What do the Scouts Say?: Recruiting between these two programs has been fairly even over the last five years overall. Last year, Rivals had the Hoosiers at 57 while the Deacs were a few spots below at 61. In 2015, IU had the advantage again by two slots at 50 & 52 respectively. Indiana had one of their strongest classes of the decade in 2014 breaking the top 40 at 39, while Wake in its makeshift first class with Dave Clawson came in at 59.
Finally, in 2013 the programs ranked back to back at 57 and 58 in the same exact order. In terms of overall HS talent on the rosters, it would appear Indiana has the slight edge, although everyone knows the scout stars only mean so much once you put on the college pads for the first time.
What Vegas Thinks: Right now the line is hovering between -6.5 and -8 for Indiana on various sites. The over/under is 49, which I think might be a little high given all the injuries and how strong Wake’s D has been. Wake is 1-2 against the spread this year so far (Duke).
In battle of undefeateds, Indiana opens as a 6.5 pt fave vs Wake Forest— Josh Goodson (@joshwgoodson) September 18, 2016
What the Computer Thinks: ESPN’s Matchup Predictor currently has the odds at 57.6% Indiana. To be honest, I’m surprised it isn’t a little higher given the Hinton and Carney injuries and the fact the Hoosiers have had an extra week to prepare.
Tweet(s) of the Week:
This quote, along with two Indiana Twitter fans’ responses, are pure gold.
Wilson on Ball State performance: "We played like our fans and left in the 4th quarter."— Mike Miller (@MikeMillerHT) September 19, 2016
IU Coach Kevin Wilson really knows how to alienate a fanbase with the best of ‘em. Let’s hope they choose to leave at halftime instead this week.
I can’t emphasize enough just how big this win would be for a 3-0 team that wants to prove it can produce without some of its key players. Get to four wins over the weekend and you can all but book your plane ticket for a bowl game in late-December. Looking forward to watching an entertaining one on the Big Ten Network with all of you this Saturday. Go Deacs!
For more Wake Forest sports statistics, you can follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3.