BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Wake Forest’s defense kept taking the ball away Saturday.
John Wolford, who reclaimed the starting quarterback job this week, kept taking advantage of his good fortune.
On a day the Demon Deacons picked off five passes and blocked a field goal, Wolford ran for two scores, threw for another and led Wake to a momentous 33-28 victory at Indiana. Wake is off to its first 4-0 start (1-0 ACC) in 10 years and celebrated coach Dave Clawson’s 100th career win.
“I came here wanting to start this rebuilding process and you get to see the players around you get so much better, you get to improve with them, people care more, all that stuff you get to see,” Wolford said. “And it’s translating to wins.”
It wasn’t just the result that was impressive.
The Deacons’ stout defense held the Hoosiers (2-1) well below their 32.0 scoring average, ended Devine Redding’s streak of five straight games with 100 yards rushing and forced Lagow into five interceptions and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
But the Hoosiers sure didn’t make it easy on Wake.
Lagow threw a 75-yard TD pass to Nick Westbrook on the first play and had the Hoosiers in scoring position on the next series — until a ball bounced off the hands of Luke Timian in the end zone and into the hands of Jessie Bates. Twelve plays later, Wolford tied the score on a 4-yard TD run.
Bates broke the tie with a 55-yard interception return in the second quarter and then after the blocked field goal, Wolford threw a 26-yard TD pass to Chuck Wade to make it 21-7.
Wolford was 16 of 29 for 172 yards and ran 14 times for 61 yards. Matt Colburn ran 29 times for 103 yards.
Lagow finished 28 of 47 with three TD passes and broke the school’s single-game record with 496 yards — including a 49-yard TD pass with 11 seconds left in the game. Ricky Jones had eight catches for 208 yards.
“We just had way too many errors, nine penalties, a lot of them were critical,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. “We’ve got to finish drives and we’ve got to play a little cleaner.”
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are oozing with confidence as they return to ACC play. They are two wins away from becoming bowl-eligible and will now embark on meaningful games in October and November, a longtime goal for Clawson and his players.
Indiana: The Hoosiers first loss came in unexpected fashion. Redding ran 16 times for 68 yards. And after throwing no interceptions in his first two FBS starts, Lagow turned it over five times. Yes, the Hoosiers played without their starting right tackle and starting right guard, but they must play much better going forward.
Bates, a freshman from Fort Wayne, Indiana, snagged his first two college interceptions Saturday in his homecoming. Clawson wasn’t surprised, calling him a very good player and noting he was a three-sport athlete in high school.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
Indiana had a moment of silence before the game for Allison Hoeppner, the daughter of Terry and Jane Hoeppner, who the school said was killed in a car crash early Saturday. Terry Hoeppner coached the Hoosiers for two seasons and died in June 2007 after battling brain cancer. “We are shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy,” Wilson said in a statement. “The Hoeppners mean a great deal, not only to me and my family, but to the entire IU Football family.”
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons head to North Carolina State, which has won the last two meeting by a combined 77-30. Wake Forest should fare better this time.
Indiana: The Hoosiers open Big Ten play against angry Michigan State , which was upset at home by Wisconsin. Indiana has lost seven straight in the series and the trophy, the Old Brass Spittoon, has earned an almost permanent spot in East Lansing.