Know Your Opponent: Wake Forest

 Wake Forest fans should be out in force for their second home contest of the season.

Wake Forest fans should be out in force for their second home contest of the season.

This Year’s Record: 2-1 (0-1 T-4th in ACC Atlantic)

Head Coach: Dave Clawson (2nd Year)

Overall: 95-89 (.375) 16th year

At Wake Forest 5-10 (1-7)

Bowl Appearances: 3 (with Bowling Green0

Last Years Record: 3-9 (1-7 T-6th in the ACC Atlantic)

Bowl Appearances Since 2000: 5 Appearances (3-2 Record)

Mascot: Black and Gold

Outfitter: Nike

National Titles: 0

Conference Titles: 2

Fun Fact 

In 1923, the Wake Forest football team defeated rival Trinity (later renamed Duke University). In the following issue of the school newspaper, the editor of the paper, Mayon Parker (1924 Wake Forest graduate), first referred to the team as "Demon Deacons," in recognition of what he called their "devilish" play and fighting spirit. Henry Belk, Wake Forest's news director, and Garrity liked the title and used it often, so the popularity of the term grew.

The actual mascot made its first appearance in 1941. As the "Demon Deacon" terminology became more popular, Jack Baldwin (1943 Wake Forest graduate) became the first Deacon mascot.

"Some of my fraternity brothers and I were just sitting around one evening," Baldwin recalls, "and came to the agreement that what Wake Forest needed was someone dressed like a deacon -- top hat, tails, a black umbrella and all that. We wanted him to be more dignified than other mascots, sort of like an old Baptist Deacon would dress"

Baldwin found an old tuxedo and a top hat, and on the following Saturday, he led the Wake Forest football team onto the field, riding the North Carolina ram. Two years later, when Baldwin graduated, many interested students were willing to continue dressing up as the mascot. Initially, the responsibility to pick new Demon Deacons fell on Baldwin's fraternity, but later it broadened to include all students. Today, special tryouts are held annually for new Deacons, but the competition is very intense.

 

1. Who is Going to Start at Quarterback?

Last week the Deacon’s had to play a true freshman quarterback, Kendell Hinton, after starter John Wolford was knocked out of the game vs. Army. In two-plus games Wolford has completed 53 of 77 passes for 712 yards and four touchdowns. However, his accuracy is a question as he has thrown four interceptions. Wolford has just 49 yards rushing, which includes a 70-yard touchdown run in the opener against Elon. Oh, I forgot to mention that the Wake offensive line is not a strength.

Hinton, who was named ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance against Army, is a dual-threat. In limited duty in just two games he is the team’s leading rusher with 113 yards and two touchdowns. He is also pretty solid with his arm completing over half of his passes for 240 yards. However, the turnover bug has also bitten Hinton as he has thrown two picks of his own.

Right now it is unknown who will get the nod on Saturday, but either way the Hoosiers will have their work cut out for them preparing for two different styles of quarterback play.

2. The Third Down Defense is Extremely Good

The Demon Deacons held Elon to 1-13 on third down in their opener. In week two, Syracuse was only able to muster 1-9 on third down. Last week, Army was only 5-14. In total, opponents are only converting 19% of their third down chances. Indiana is going to be challenged to convert on third down if they want to sustain drives and WF has proven to be adept at getting opponents off the field. The keys to converting on third down are fairly simple; first, IU must stay “ahead of schedule” and avoid third and long. Second, the Hoosiers will need to utilize their weapons to execute. That means giving the ball to Jordan Howard and blocking well on third and short. It could also mean executing on quick outs, tunnel screens or quick throws to guys like Ricky Jones, Mitchell Paige or the tight ends. If IU can convert on third down at a decent clip, they’ll be able to sustain drives and have a good chance to rack up enough points to pull away from Wake Forest.

3. Finally Back At Home

Wake Forest returns to BB&T Bank Stadium in Winston-Salem after back-to-back road games. They played at Syracuse and at Army after opening at home against Elon. Playing two road games in a row in September is a rarity for a “Power 5” school and they managed to split the road trip with a victory at Army. Wake Forest should have a decent crowd on Saturday and IU would be well-advised to get off to a much better start than they have in the first three games this season. Falling behind early will encourage the home crowd to get involved but a quick start could render home-field advantage moot.

4. Red Zone Struggles

Wake Forest’s offense hasn’t produced quite as well as they’d like and one of the reasons is because of an inability to score touchdowns on red zone trips. Wake Forest has entered the Red Zone ten times this season and scored at an 80% clip. That’s not woeful but only five (or 50%) of those trips resulted in touchdowns. If Indiana’s offense is on its game, Wake Forest is going to need to turn every scoring chance they get into touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers executed well in the Red Zone against Western Kentucky (one scoring chance goes down as a non-score as IU took a knee) and they’ll need to continue that moving forward. On the season, the Hoosiers are 13-15 (86.7%) on Red Zone trips and have scored nine (60%) touchdowns.

5. Pressuring the QB

Wake Forest’s offensive line is one of the least experienced lines in the country. They’ve struggled to run block and they’ve had a hard time keeping their quarterback upright. Through three games, Wake Forest quarterbacks have been sacked nine times for a loss of 63 yards. Their defense has only sacked an opponent three times. The Hoosiers haven’t generated much of a pass rush but they were a bit more disruptive in the second half of last week’s contest and they’ll need to carry that over into Saturday’s game. If the mobile Hinton sees the majority of snaps, IU will need to not only pressure him, they’ll need to contain him to prevent big yardage scrambles.