Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
The weather in Winston-Salem, N.C. is absolutely dreadful as the soaking mist that was falling for most of last night has continued into the morning. That has not put a damper on the festivities of the Hoosier faithful who have made the trek to Wake Forest, as they have taken over the first row of the parking lots outside of BB&T Field. Now that weather is most likely going to play a role into today's game, here are the five keys to victory for the Hoosiers.
1. Protect The Ball
It is down right nasty out, at least at 8a.m. so both teams are going to be playing with a slick football. As our own Nick Holmes spoke on yesterday, the Hoosiers are plus-five in turnover margin, while the Demon Deacons sit at minus-six. Turnovers are going to play a major factor before this one is settled. Indiana will have to be smart with throws, while receivers and ball carriers will have to be extra careful to tuck the ball today in the rain.
2. Limit Empty Possessions
Last week field goals were not going to beat Western Kentucky (ultimately that was the final margin of victory), but three points will be just fine against Wake Forest. The Hoosiers cannot pass up the "easy" three to try and get seven unless they really have to. If it is more than a fourth-and-one situation then Kevin Wilson needs to trot out kicker Griffin Oakes. The Wake offense is not a strength and if this game becomes a shoot out something has gone wrong.
3. Pressure The Quarterback
It has yet to be determined who will be starting under center for the Demon Deacons, but either way the Hoosier must bust through the offensive line and put a little heat on the young quarterbacks. John Wolford, who has started all three games, was knocked out with an ankle injury last week so his mobility may be limited and Kendell Hinton, a true freshman, who ran for over 100 yards and two scores in last week's win over Army, have combined to throw six interceptions. If the IU front seven can get in their faces it will be a long day for either of the Deacon signal callers.
4. Run The Ball
Jordan Howard is currently leading the FBS in rushing with 507 yards. So, on a dreary, wet day like Saturday, it would be ideal for the Hoosiers to feed the beast and let him and this stout offensive line beat up the Wake Forest defense. Much like last week, the offense can run the ball without being super conservative. Many big plays can be opened up if the Hoosiers can force the Demon Deacons to crowd the box and then hit some play action passes. Running the ball should help the Hoosiers deal with the weather as well as crush the will of the defense.
5. Take the Crowd Out of It
It is homecoming in Winston-Salem this weekend, so one would have to think that the crowd should be relatively large. The Hoosiers need to take them out of it early. There is nothing worse than sitting in the rain watching a visiting team come in and go up by two scores early. Indiana can send the Deacon fas home early with a fast start.