Wake Forest trying to extend winning ways against Indiana
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson understands exactly what Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson is teaching his team these days.
Less than a month into the season, the Demon Deacons are on the verge of surpassing their victory total from each of the last two seasons. They are unbeaten after three games, and the discussion around campus is inevitably turning to the possibility of postseason plans after a seven-year bowl drought.
Clawson wants his team to learn how to handle success.
''We are proud of what they have done, but the reward of winning the game is that the next game has meaning to us,'' Clawson said. ''It's been a long time here since we have played games of meaning in October, and we want to play games that mean something in October and November.''
It's taken Clawson three grueling years to reach this point.
Wilson already has been through it with his Hoosiers (2-0).
A year ago, Wilson finally got Indiana to the postseason for the first time since 2007 and only the second time since 1993. And after losing quarterback Nate Sudfeld, running back Jordan Howard and offensive tackle Jason Spriggs to the NFL, some wondered how much of a drop there would be in 2016.
Thus far, the Hoosiers' offense has been chugging along just fine with new quarterback Richard Lagow and running back Devine Redding leading the way.
But while the Demon Deacons (3-0, 1-0 ACC) already have a quality win over Duke, Saturday's game will be the Hoosiers' best test yet. So to take momentum into October, which opens with three straight games against ranked teams, the Hoosiers must win now.
''We have practiced really, really good, and we're going to need a good week because I think Wake comes in as a stout team and then we roll into nine straight Big Ten games,'' Wilson said. ''So getting ready to get real and get serious, and I think our guys are looking forward to the challenge.''
Here are some other things to watch Saturday:
It might not be the biggest game on the schedule, but it is one of only six Power Five games featuring unbeaten teams. Indiana is chasing its second straight 3-0 start, and its ninth straight win over a non-conference foe. Wake Forest, meanwhile, is one win away from its first 4-0 start since 2006.
Wake Forest shuffled quarterbacks for the first three games but won't have that option available this week. Kendall Hinton, who started last week against Delaware, is expected to miss to 2-4 weeks with a sprained ligament in his left knee. John Wolford will get the start, which poses a different challenge for Indiana. In last season's game, the Hoosiers faced Hinton because Wolford was hurt.
Indiana's defense, mostly criticized over the years, has forced three or more turnovers in four consecutive games for the first time since 1988-89. This season, the Hoosiers are No. 5 nationally in defensive touchdowns (two), No. 16 in interceptions (four) and No. 26 in takeaways (6). And the Hoosiers are No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin (plus-five).
THE CENTURY MARK
With nine at Wake, 32 at Bowling Green and 29 each at Fordham and Richmond, Clawson is now one victory away from career win No. 100. It's taken him 12 seasons as a head coach to reach it.
Indiana All-American guard Dan Feeney left the Ball State game with a concussion and still wasn't cleared to practice after last weekend's bye. If he can get back on the field Saturday, it will give the Hoosiers a big boost.