BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WakeForestSports.com)– Wake Forest remained unbeaten on the season, improving to 4-0, with a 33-28 victory at Indiana on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Demon Deacon defense intercepted five passes, including two by Jessie Bates, and John Wolford accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) as Wake Forest won at a Big Ten school for the second time in school history.
The Demon Deacons are 4-0 to open a season for the first time since 2006, when they won the ACC title. It is their first four-game win streak since the 2011 season. The victory was also the 100th career win for head coach Dave Clawson, who improved to 100-98 overall.
Indiana outgained Wake Forest 611-352, but the Demon Deacons’ plus-five turnover margin lifted them to victory. In addition to Bates’ first two career interceptions, Wake Forest also got picks from Brad Watson, Grant Dawson and Ryan Janvion. It marked the Deacs’ first five interception game since 2008 at Florida State.
John Wolford led the Demon Deacon offense, passing 16-of-29 for 172 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Colburn rushed for 103 yards, becoming the first Wake Forest running back to post consecutive 100-yard games since Brandon Pendergrass in 2011. The Deacs’ 33 points are most against an FBS opponent in the Clawson era.
The Hoosiers jumped out to a 7-0 lead as Nick Westbrook took a pass from Richard Lagow 75 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage. On its second possession, Indiana nearly doubled its lead, but Bates ended the threat with his first interception of the afternoon, returning it 39 yards out of the end zone.
Wake Forest drew even with a 12-play touchdown drive following that Bates’ pick, capped by a four-yard run by Wolford.
The Demon Deacons took a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter as Bates grabbed his second interception of the day and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. It was the first pick-six for a Deac since 2014 when Josh Banks accomplished the feat at Utah State.
After Watson blocked a Hoosier field goal attempt, Wake Forest extended the lead to 21-7 with a 6-play, 80-yard drive in the final minute of the first half. Chuck Wade hauled in a 26-yard pass from Wolford and maintained control as he crashed into the goalpost support, giving the Deacs a 14-point lead that they took into intermission.
In the third quarter, Mike Weaver’s season-long 46-yard field goal, following the fourth Wake Forest interception of the day, pushed the advantage to 24-7. Indiana responded with a 2-play, 75-yard drive, finished by Westbrook’s second touchdown catch of the game. Following Weaver’s second field goal of the day, from 30 yards, Indiana answered with another touchdown drive, ending with a 1-yard run by Tyler Natee, to make the Deacon lead 27-21 through three quarters.
On the first drive of the final quarter, the Deacs went 75 yards over 12 plays and Wolford’s second touchdown rush of the day, this time from 11 yards, pushed the advantage back to 12 points. The ensuing 2-point conversation attempt failed to keep the Wake Forest lead at 33-21.
Indiana scored on a 49-yard heave from Lagow to Donavan Hale with 11 seconds left to cut the final margin to 33-28, but Bates sealed the win as he recovered the Hoosiers' onside kick attempt.
After an undefeated September, the Demon Deacons open October next Saturday with a visit to NC State. Kickoff in Raleigh in 3:30 p.m. and the game will air on RSN.