Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Week 4: Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Time & Date: TBD, Saturday, Sept. 26th
Venue: BB&T Field (31,500, Winston-Salem, NC)
Demon Deacons at a Glance:
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
Last Season: 3-9 (1-7)
Demon Deacon Returning Leaders:
Passing: John Wolford (58.3% 2,037 Yds, 12 TD 14 INT)
Rushing: Dezmond Wotrtham (240 Yds, 2.9 Avg, 0 TD)
Receiving: Cam Serigne (531 Yds, 9.8 Avg, 5 TD)
Tackles: Ryan Janvion (115 Tkl, 7 TFL, 6 PBU)
Preseason Magazine Predictions:
Lindy’s: 7th in the ACC Atlantic Division
Sporting News: 7th in the ACC Atlantic Division
Athlon Sports: 6th in the ACC Atlantic Division
Phil Steele: 7th in the ACC Atlantic Division
Why the Demon Deacons could win:
Week four marks the first road trip for the Hoosiers in 2015 when they travel to BB&T Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. This matchup will pit strength against strength as the Deacons feature one of the best defenses in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while the Hoosiers should have a potent offense. Wake’s front seven will be a force to reckon with as they return six of seven starters and have impact players at every level of the defense. Outside linebacker Brandon Chubb, a two-time captain, was second on the team with 109 tackles in 2014 will be the leader of the defense. The middle of the line will be plugged up by big Tylor Harris, a 6-4 305 lbs senior nose tackle who jumped on four fumbles in his junior campaign. The secondary, which will be tested by Nate Sudfeld and the Hoosier aerial attack, will be anchored by junior safety Ryan Janvion, who led the team in tackles with 115 and broke up six passes.
The Demon Deacon offense was absolutely abysmal in 2014, they averaged just 39.9 yards per game on the ground, but should be better as the offensive line will feature three new starters. Sophomore quarterback John Wolford will be a year older after throwing for over 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman. There is nowhere to go but up for this offense, which ranked 125th out of 128 teams in total offense. Add in the fact that the Hoosiers have traditionally struggled on defense and this offense could grind their way to enough points for the defense to get the W.
Wake Forest also has a strong special teams unit, which could play a major factor is field position if their offense cannot get it going. Sophomore kicker Mike Weaver connected on 15 of his 19 field goal attempts as a freshman, while senior punter Alex Kinal averaged a booming 43.6 yards per punt in 2014.
While the 31,500 seat BB&T Field won’t strike fear into the eyes of Indiana, who plays regularly in stadiums that seat over 100,000, it is still a road trip against a Power Five opponent so don’t under estimate a team that knocked off a Virginia Tech team that knocked off the National Champion Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.
Why They Won’t Pull it Off:
Wake Forest’s offense was historically bad in 2014 and will be even younger along the offensive line in 2015. The Demon Deacons averaged just 14.8 points per game and outside of a double overtime 6-3 win over Virginia Tech only notched victories against FCS member Gardner-Webb and Army. They will replace their two starting wide outs as well as three members of the offensive line. While the replacements may be more talented they are still freshman and any time a team is starting seven freshman and sophomores on offense there is a learning curve.
The defense, which was tremendous is 2014, will also have to replace two starters at corner back, which could spell their doom against the big arm of Nate Sudfeld unless the front seven can get into the backfield. The Hoosiers also sport one of the most experienced and talented offensive lines in the Big Ten so getting pressure on Sudfeld may not be that easy. The 2015 Hoosiers should be more like the 2013 IU squad that lit up scoreboards across the Big Ten, and for a team that is relying on first year corners it could quickly turn into a long day.
By the way Wake Forest is also coming off a game against Army, which runs the dreaded triple option offense. Hoosier fans know how much playing that offense can mess up a team’s defense for the following game. There is plenty of factors going against Wake Forest here and it may be too much to over come against a veteran offensive team like IU.
Hoosier Win Percentage: