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BSD Roundtable: Wake Forest vs. Indiana

The staff discussions impressions from Wake’s win over the Hoosiers.

Wake Forest v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Now that Wake Forest is 4-0, with two Power 5 road victories, have your preseason expectations changed?

Adam: I fully expected to beat UVA, Army, and BC at home at the beginning of the season and that hasn't changed at all. However, at this point I'm feeling a whole lot better about the Syracuse game. Wake is off to a fantastic start, but I don't think we're going to be beating Clemson, FSU, or Louisville. Those are 3 teams in playoff contention, so that's ok with me. I had us going 5-7 at the beginning of the year, but at this point, I think we can win the rest of our home games that aren't Clemson and finish the year 8-4.

Ned: With 4 wins already under our belt and 4 home games against Army, Syracuse, BC, and UVA still on the horizon, I don't see how your expectations could stay the same. Back in August I came out saying I'd be thrilled if the Deacs could get to 6, which at this point would be Wake going 2-6 the rest of the way and losing multiple games in which they are favored at BB&T. I just don't see that happening. My "thrill" meter would be completely full at 8-4, which I think is totally possible especially if they can steal one from the Pack in Raleigh this weekend. Belk Bowl on December 29th in Charlotte against an SEC opponent. Let's get there.

Chris: I expected Wake to go to a bowl game this season, and we are on a great trajectory to head to one now. We have a really tough stretch of games before the season ends, but we also still have some very winnable games. I would like to see Wake get to seven victories this season, which isn't an expectation I had before the season started. I think eight wins is within the realm of possibility too.

What impressed you the most about Wake’s performance against Indiana?

Adam: I think for me it’s either the offensive line or Jessie Bates. Bates obviously had a fantastic game with 2 interceptions and a touchdown. He is just a freshman and already is a ball hawking, Alphonso Smith-esque, play-maker. That being said, I think the offensive line was even more impressive. Not only did the Deacs have another game with a 100 yard rusher and almost 200 yards on the ground, but the line also gave Wolford time to look down field and make some really great throws. If they can play at the level for the rest of the season, the Deacs should be in good shape.

Ned: The Rush Defense. Devine Redding was on a streak of five straight games of putting up over 100 yards dating back to last season. He was averaging 123 yards per game this season and was wreaking havoc on first downs to give IU easy, methodical drives. Wake held him to 68 yards on the day and kept him under 2 yards on half of his carries (eight). If you told me last week that Wake would out-gain the Hoosiers on the ground by almost 70 yards I would've been incredibly surprised. Props to the big boys up front and the coaching staff keeping IU's excellent rushing game in check.

Chris: I'm continually impressed with Wake taking care of the ball. Coach Grobe showed over many years that limiting mistakes and turnovers can be the difference with a talent gap between Wake and the rest of the ACC. Coach Clawson has shown he can start to recruit to close the talent gap a little, and that he is willing to mix a little excitement in with the conservative playcalling that keeps Wake in football games.

What was the least impressive part about Wake’s performance against Indiana?

Adam: Big plays down the field and that last touchdown. The secondary gave up way too many large chunk plays that allowed Indiana to stay in the game even after turning the ball over 5 times. That last touchdown was basically the most Wake Forest thing I've seen us do all year, and all I can say is thank the maker we were up 13 instead of 6. With a +5 turnover margin and 352 total yards, there is no way we should have let this be a 1 score game.

Ned: The Secondary. After being fairly solid for the first three games of the season, allowing nearly 500 yards to a QB in his 3rd career start is less than ideal. Two major defensive lapses made up 124 of those yards, which simply can't happen in ACC play if the dream of going 8-4/9-3 wants to be kept alive. Despite the struggles, it's tough to complain too much when your secondary ends up with five INTs and six points to their name. Less of the lapses, more of that, please.

Chris: Wake's passing offense still looks remarkably pedestrian four games into the undefeated season. We have trouble completing passes downfield, and our receivers can't seem to get much separation on medium distance routes. We're still dropping passes and Wolford still lacks the decisiveness in the pocket to get throws out quickly. Against teams with more athletic, quick defenses, this will lead to sacks and turnovers unless Wake is able to greatly improve.