Indiana coach Kevin Wilson made headlines in the summer when he said his Hoosiers would, to paraphrase, beat Wake Forest pretty easily. Well, it looked easy until the fourth quarter. Wake Forest scored 14 unanswered points to make it a game, then recovered an onside kick before coming up short with a minute left. Indiana survived, 31-24, moving to 4-0 for the first time since 1990.
How the game was won: The best player on the field was Indiana running back Jordan Howard, who had his fourth 100-yard game of the season with 168 yards and a touchdown. Wake Forest continues to have issues on its offensive line and simply could not get its running game going. Still, the Deacs had a chance to win it in the end after making a furious comeback. With John Wolford out nursing a sprained ankle, the Deacs turned to freshman Kendall Hinton. His athleticism allowed him to make some plays, rushing for two touchdowns and throwing another in the fourth quarter to Tabari Hines to rally the Deacs from a 31-10 deficit. After appearing to convert on fourth-and-10 with less than 2 minutes to go, Wake Forest was called for holding. Hinton's ensuing pass went incomplete.
Stat of the game: 11-119. The Hoosiers were flagged for 11 penalties, including pass interference on fourth-and-17 with the game hanging in the balance, allowing Wake Forest a fresh set to try and win. Luckily for Indiana, they were able to escape despite the miscues.
What the win means for Indiana: The Hoosiers' championship hopes remain alive! Oh, wait No. 1 Ohio State awaits next week. Well, at the very least, its bowl hopes got a huge bump with a perfect record in nonconference play. Indiana needs only two more wins to get to six, and with games remaining against Rutgers, Purdue, Maryland and Penn State, the Hoosiers should be able to find at least two. Though the defense had problems with Hinton's mobility at times, Indiana got good pressure on the quarterback for most of the game. But you can bet those final 7 minutes are going to be reviewed, because they were clearly the better team most of the afternoon.
What the loss means for Wake Forest: Some good news to start: The Deacs have already passed their rushing total from a year ago. In four games. So progress is being made. While Hinton has tremendous athleticism and proved to be elusive at times, he struggled in the passing game and couldn't string together drives consistently for the majority of the game. Wake Forest went just 4-of-18 on third down. Though Hinton can make things happen when he scrambles, Wolford remains the more refined quarterback. It didn't help the defense that starting safety Ryan Janvion was lost in the second quarter with a head injury.