WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — For three quarters and most of the fourth, Wake Forest could do little to slow down undefeated Indiana.
That changed over the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter, as the Deacons mounted a late comeback before falling short, 31-24, to the Hoosiers on Saturday.
Freshman Kendall Hinton, making his first start at quarterback, ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third for Wake Forest (2-2), trying to win back-to-back games for the first time in two years.
But Hinton was sacked six times by Indiana's defense, and he threw an interception that Tony Fields retuned 20 yards for a score that put the Hoosiers (4-0) up 31-10 with 10:22 remaining.
"In the first quarter, we started out slow," said Hinton, who also had a 15-yard TD run to open the second quarter that tied the game at 7-7. "I missed a lot of throws, and in the third quarter as well.
"(But) coming out at halftime, we started out slow, but once we got in a rhythm, the team picked it up."
Hinton kept Wake Forest close with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. His 14-yard keeper with 6:25 left cut Indiana's lead to 31-17, and a 29-yard scoring pass to Tabari Hines with 2:33 left pulled the Deacons within 31-24.
Wake Forest's Julian Jackson then came up with an onside kick to give the Deacons one last shot. Aided by a pass interference call, Wake Forest drove to the Hoosiers 32, but a holding call pushed the Deacons back.
Wake Forest's last chance ended when Indiana's Rashard Fant broke up a pass in the end zone for Deacons receiver K.J. Brent.
Hinton completed 19 of 46 passes for 245 yards and added 57 yards rushing for Wake Forest. Mike Weaver also made a 35-yard field goal with 3:47 left in the first half that pulled the Deacons within 14-10.
"I thought our kids played hard for four quarters," Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. "The bottom line is on offense, we missed some opportunities in the passing game. We had people open and just didn't throw and catch as well as we needed to.
"We came to life in the fourth quarter, but too little too late. We're making progress, but this is one that we really wanted to get and thought we could get, so we're disappointed."
Nate Sudfeld threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns, and Jordan Howard added 168 rushing yards and a touchdown for Indiana, who head into next week's Big 10 showdown against No. 1 Ohio State riding a five-game winning streak.
The Hoosiers' 4-0 start is their best since 1990, and the sixth time in program history that they've opened a season with four consecutive wins. And the five straight wins, dating back to the final game of the 2014 season, is their first since 1987.
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