BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA — Though outgained by more than 250 yards, Wake Forest directly turned five Indiana interceptions into 17 points to grab a 33-28 road victory Saturday over the Hoosiers.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson spoke with the media right after the Deacs moved to 4-0 on the season.
Clawson “Alright just, again really proud of our players. Indiana is a really good football team. They’re very explosive on offense. It was one of those games that we knew we were just going to have to play for four quarters. That they were going to make plays. We may fall behind, we may get ahead but the game was never going to be over. Again, Indiana is a good football team. They’re explosive. But it just seems like so many times today we responded. Obviously the five turnovers were huge. But i also loved the way today our offense responded when they had to. I thought every time they made it a one-score game our offense then responded with a drive or a big play and made it a two score game. And I thought that was key. And you know we gave up a lot of yards in the passing game but we limited their rushing yards and on offense we started out ok, had a little bit of a lull in the second quarter but I thought that touchdown right before the half was huge. To get that ball and score the touchdown before the half and then you know in the second half we had good drives. You know we settled for some field goals but John (Wolford) scrambled for a touchdown to then make it a 12-point game was really a big time play by him. Again we found a way to win. I think we found a way to win a lot of different games this year which is the sign of a good football team. You know we’ve won a 7-3 defensive game. You know we just now won a shootout. And we’ve won a real physical game at Duke and so you know I like teams that can win in different ways. And I think this football team is starting to do that which is really encouraging.”
On if wake matched the physicality of the Hoosiers
Clawson: “I thought we measured up well. I wouldn’t say we dominated the line of scrimmage but I thought we certainly held our own. And again we ran the ball when we needed to and I thought we stopped their rushing game. So I certainly think if you look at it from a year ago, Dan (Collins), it’s clear that we’ve made progress in that area. Because that was a mismatch a year ago and it wasn’t a mismatch this year. You know I’m not going to say again that we won that battle but it was certainly a stalemate if not maybe a little bit better.”
On Wake’s receivers going up and making plays
Clawson: “They had to. I mean that was the one thing that hadn’t happened this year. You know I think we’ve run the ball better, but you know the play Tabari (Hines) made on the sidelines, the play Chucky (Wade) made before the half - we made big plays in the pass game. And we had to do that. That’s our concern going into it was that you guys have watched us practice more than anybody. And you see us do that all the time in practice. And we talked about this on I think Wednesday, Dan, or Thursday that I was anxious for it to happen in a game. And it happened in a game now and I hope it really gives those guys confidence that this is a point that they can really take off from.
On Jessie Bates two interceptions
Clawson: “Yeah, Jessie is a good player, isn’t he? He’s from Indiana too. Yeah, how about it? Well, Jessie is what we look for. Jessie was a guy that was a great three sport athlete. Jessie was a really good basketball player, what averaged,18 points a game Jessie? Something like that? He’s a good baseball player. And he was just a very natural athlete and I think he was one of those guys who got overlooked because he was a three sport athlete guy which we love. We love guys who play three sports. And you know he might have been the last recruit of the class two years ago. But he’s a ball player now. He’s a player.”
What were you thinking when Indiana went 75 yards on the first play
Clawson: “I just said it’s a long game. I mean when they hit that first touchdown there’s still 59 minutes and 45 seconds left to play. And you know we’ve been in every type of game this year. We’ve come from behind before. You know we’ve played with a lead. You know so again we told the team before the game ‘guys this is a game that the only play that matters is the next play.’ Indiana is good. They’re explosive. And they’re going to make plays. I don’t know how many. But we just have to keep playing and make our own. And again I knew we’d keep playing. If you’d watch us this year I think that’s a trait this team has is not necessarily looking at the scoreboard but just playing. And they did that. You know that pick in the endzone by Jessie that he took to midfield was huge because that could have made it 14-0. Instead it was 7-7. And then he had the pick-six. There were so many game changing plays and Jessie certainly made his share. And he’s probably mad right now because he had that third pick except the other guy knocked it away from him.”
On significant injuries today
Clawson: “I don’t think so. He (Duke Ejiofor) twisted his ankle. So I think he’ll be fine. You know again, we played a lot of snaps in the first half. We played, I was very concerned about that because in the second quarter we had a couple of three and outs on offense and our defense had 45 plays in the first half. And I thought our offense in the second half did a great job of possessing the football. So our defense I think was fresh enough at the end and made enough plays to get off the field.”
On being in a game with five interceptions from Indiana’s quarterback
Clawson: “Yeah, I think I coached the quarterback once when it happened. I think i coached the quarterback once who threw five picks so I was worried about my job the next day. So, it was back in the 1990’s. He’s (Richard Lagow) a good quarterback. And they have a great offensive system. Our guys stepped up and made plays. But they’re good. They’re very explosive and they’re going to score points against a lot of people.
On Jessie’s vision on deciding to run out one of his interceptions
Clawson: “Yeah, but we’ve been watching Jessie do that for the last year and a half on the practice field. He has, I don’t know if there’s a measure for it but Jessie has a lot of athletic intelligence. He’s returning punts for us too. Because he’s, I always joke with him that I always like punt returners who are baseball players because they are used to judging the ball off the bat. And Jessie just has very good field awareness. And I knew when he took it out that it was a good decision for us and he got it out to the 45 yard line. Usually when that happens I’m saying ‘Stay, stay, stay.’ But with Jessie I just kind of keep my mouth shut. I figure he’ll do the right thing.
On John Wolford’s zero turnovers
Clawson: “No turnovers. No turnovers. His play was big time. He stepped up. He made plays with his feet. He made plays with his arm. Ran the offense really, really well. Managed the end of the game well. Snapping the ball with a second left. So, he’s played really well now for six straight quarters.
On about being 4-0 or 100th career win
Clawson: “What do you think? 1-0 on the week. That’s all we want to do. Can’t go 4-0 in a week. Can only go 1-0. You know that’s the, I can defer the question how I want to. I appreciate you guys making the trip. Thank you”