Indiana will be hosting the Wake Forest Demon Deacons today at Memorial Stadium. Here are three keys to victory as the Hoosiers look for a 3-0 start to the 2016 season.
1) Fast Start
The Wake Forest offense is not a highly explosive one. They like to run the ball and control the clock and play a lower scoring game. In three games this fall Wake Forest has run 207 total plays on offense and 142 of them have been running plays. They are only completing about 55 percent of their passes for 141 passing yards per game. This is not an offense that is built to play from behind, especially if they are a couple scores behind. So if the Hoosiers can get off to a quick start and get up on the Demon Deacons that will force their offense to throw the ball much more than they want to. On top of that, their starting QB today, John Wolford, is prone to making mistakes as he has thrown 25 career interceptions in 25 career games. The more times he is forced to put the ball in the air the more likely he is to throw a pick. The Indiana defense has intercepted four passes in two games so the chances are good that they could get one or two today if Wake Forest has to start throwing the ball to stay in the game.
2) No big plays & field goals in the Red Zone
As we talked about above, the Demon Deacons do not have the type of offense that is going to have several explosive plays in a game. The key for the IU defense is keep it that way today. There are players on the Wake Forest offense that can hurt you so it will be important for the IU linebackers and secondary to be disciplined and focused to make sure they don't have any missed assignments that lead to big plays and easy scores for the Demon Deacons. The more they make Wake Forest have to work on offense to score points the harder it will be for them to stay in the game against IU. The other area where the IU defense needs to be strong is in the red zone. Wake Forest is 8-of-10 when it comes to scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Hoosiers need to hold them to field goals if the Demon Deacons do get inside the 20 yard line. If IU is able to do that it will make it very difficult for Wake Forest to win this game.
3) Sound on Special Teams
In the two games they have played this season the IU special teams units have made a couple of costly mistakes. Against FIU they had a missed field goal that was a chip shot for kicker Griffin Oakes, and they also had a dropped snap in that game that cost them a chance at three points. In the Ball State game they had a breakdown on their punt team when they failed to block a Ball State player and he was able to block a punt by Joseph Gedeon that the Cardinals recovered for an easy touchdown. The Hoosiers can't leave points on the field today, but even more important than that, they can't have mistakes on special teams that lead to cheap points for the Demon Deacons. We have already documented that Wake is most likely not going to score a bunch of points with their offense, so it is important that the Hoosiers don't have any blunders on special teams that give them easy scores.