Week Four Know Your Opponent: Wake Forest Brings a Stout Defense in Bloomington

Wake will bring a Top-10 defense into Bloomington.  Image: Wake Forest Athletics

Wake will bring a Top-10 defense into Bloomington. Image: Wake Forest Athletics

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

Head Coach: Dave Clawson (3rd Year)
Overall: 99-97 (.505) 17th year
At Wake Forest 9-18 (3-14)
Bowl Appearances: 3
Last Year’s Record: 3-9 (1-7)
This Year’s Record: 3-0 (1-0)
Bowl Appearances Since 2000: 5 Appearances (3-2 Record)
Mascot: Demon Deacon
Colors: Gold and Black
Outfitter: Nike
National Titles: 0
Conference Titles: 10
Heisman Winners: 0

Fun Fact

Originally, Wake Forest's athletic teams were known as the Fighting Baptists, due to its association with the Baptist Convention (from which it later separated itself). However, in 1923, after a particularly impressive win against the Duke Blue Devils, a newspaper reporter wrote that the Deacons "fought like Demons", giving rise to the current team name, the "Demon Deacons."

1. Wake Forest Comes to Bloomington with a Top-10 Defense

Much like last year, the Demon Deacons make a name for themselves on defense. Currently, they rank sixth in the nation in total defense allowing just 247.7 yards per game. While their schedule has been relatively soft (Tulane, Duke, and FCS squad Delaware), any time you crack the top-10 it is impressive. Oh yeah, they are only allowing 12.7 points per game.

Indiana has struggled on third down and red zone conversions, and it will not get easier Saturday as Wake Forest is allowing just 34.09 percent of third down plays to be converted, and allowed the opponent to score just 62.5 percent of their red zone chances into points.

Jessie Bates, a freshman defensive back who has 18 total stops, leads their defense in tackles. Junior defensive lineman Duke Ejofor, 6’4” 270-pounds, paces the Deacons on defense with 6.5 tackles for loss including 4.5 sacks. However, Wake Forest has only taken the ball away from opponents four times in three games.

2. Demon Deacons Bitten By Injury Bug

Every team has to deal with injuries, Indiana football fans know this too well, but it is how a team responds to players being sidelined that will count. In last Saturday’s game the Deacons were playing without freshman running back Cade Carney after he suffered a knee injury in practice earlier in the week. Carney had burst onto the scene for the Demon Deacons rushing 24 times for 129 yards and three scores. His status is unknown for this week’s game against IU.

After winning the starting quarterback job after Wake Forest’s win at Duke in week two, Kendall Hinton left Saturday’s win against Delaware in the first half with a non-contact knee injury. Wake is calling it a knee sprain, but he did not return to the game and his status is up in the air for Saturday. Hinton had a promising start to the 2016 rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns while completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 174 yards.

Wake Forest does have other options to go to in the backfield as sophomore Matt Colburn has been solid in relief of Carney running for 195 yards on 43 carries and a score. As far as the quarterback position is concerned, the Demon Deacons have a very experience veteran in John Wolford. Wolford missed last season’s matchup with the Hoosiers with an injury, but has played plenty over his career and  this season. He has completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 251 yards while throwing one touchdown and one interception in the first three wins. While not necessarily known for his running ability, he can burn opponents with his legs. He has run the ball 18 times for 93 yards including one touchdown. 

3. Wake’s Offense Not Built for A Shootout

Like a year ago, Wake Forest’s offense has struggled to rack up yardage and put points on the board. Wake ranks 12th in the ACC averaging just 23 points per game and 13th in the conference with just 348.3 yards per game. At just 5.05 yards per play, they do not want to get into a situation where they have to go punch-for-punch with the IU offense. However, Indiana fans should keep an eye out for wide receivers Cortez Lewis (three catches 63 yards) and Alex Bachman (six catches for 95 yards one TD) as well as tight end Cam Serigne to be the big play recipients for the Deacs.

4. Cam Serigne and Ryan Janvion Give Wake Forest Some Star Power

Two names that IU fans have probably heard of on the Wake Forest team are tight end Cam Serigne and safety Ryan Janvion. Serigne has been named to the Mackey Award Watch List and an All-ACC tight end. He has 1,131 career receiving yards to go along with nine-career touchdown catches. At 6’3” he could be an issue for IU to defend. He was one of our Top Five tight ends that Indiana would play in 2016. 

Janvion, another player listed in our Top Five series, is a redshirt senior who is closing in on 300 career tackles (291). He is a game changer in the secondary and will be out to slow down the Indiana running game after getting knocked out of last year’s match-up by Jordan Howard. Janvion also has 10.5 career tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries.