Wabash evens series with 35-7 win over tigers
Jamarcus Shephard totaled 183 all-purpose yards in the 2002 Monon Bell game (photo: Marilyn E. Culler)
Crawfordsville, Ind. (11/16/02) - Host Wabash scored 35 first-half points on the way to a 35-7 win in the 109th meeting between the two schools. DePauw finished the season with a 7-3 record, while the ninth-ranked Little Giants completed regular season play at 10-0. They will compete in the NCAA playoffs beginning next Saturday.
The Little Giants' win evened the all-time series at 50-50-9 and closed DePauw's lead in the Monon Bell series to 34-31-6.
Wabash marched down the field on the game's first possession and converted a pair of third down plays including a two-yard touchdown pass from Jake Knott to Ryan Short. The score capped of an 11-play, 59-yard drive and put Wabash ahead 7-0 with 10:44 left in the first.
DePauw's offense had little trouble on its first series as the Tigers started on their own 24 and immediately picked up 39 yards on wide receiver Jamarcus Shephard's run. Later in the drive, Andy Yoder connected with Shephard for 24 yards on fourth-and-13 to take the Tigers to the Wabash three. Wabash stopped a pair of Matt King runs and, on third down, Yoder looked for Dan Ryan in the end zone, but Dustin Deno picked off the pass.
The Tigers' defense stepped up on the next series as sacks by Cory Partlow and Dustin Hertel pushed the Little Giants back to their own eight and a four-yard punt gave DePauw the ball at the Wabash 12. On the second down play, Yoder completed a pass to John Stephens at the Wabash six, but Stephens fumbled and Wabash's Nick Fanelli recovered at the Wabash five.
On the next possession, the DePauw defense eventually shut down the Little Giants at the DePauw 34 and another short punt put the ball on the DePauw 17. The Tiger offense stalled and Ross Wiethoff's punt was blocked by Deno and recovered by Aaron Selby who advanced it to the DePauw 19.
Knott went up top to Short on the next play to make it 13-0 with 11:57 left in the half. Charles Stanback blocked the extra point.
After pinning the Tigers deep in Wabash territory on the next series and a 17-yard punt return by Josh Bronaugh, Wabash took over on the DePauw 24. Six plays later Knott and Short teamed again for a three-yard score. The two also connected on the two-point conversion to push the lead to 21-0 with 8:41 remaining in the half.
If there was a final blow to the Tigers, it may have occurred on the first play after the ensuing kickoff when Yoder's pass was intercepted by Deno at the Wabash 41 and returned to the DePauw 39. On the next play, Knott hooked up with Short for the fourth time to make it 28-0 with 8:11 left in the half.
Wabash's final score of the half came on Knott's 13-yard run on third-and-nine with 1:55 remaining. They nearly scored again after DePauw was unable to get a punt off on its next series and the Little Giants took over on the DePauw 17 with 57 seconds left. David Blackburn's interception of a Knott pass at the one prevented a sixth Wabash score.
"You can't win playing that way," DePauw coach Nick Mourouzis said. "We had two opportunities early, but we stopped ourselves. Overall, you can't have five turnovers, a blocked punt and a muffed punt and expect to win."
It may have been little consolation for the Tigers, but they held Wabash scoreless over the final 30 minutes, something that no other opponent had done this season. In the second half, DePauw limited Wabash to just 141 yards of offense.
DePauw's only score of the game came with 6:40 left when Stephens tossed a 64-yard reverse pass to Shephard who ran it in to make it 35-7.
"I was really proud of our team for coming back out and shutting them out in the second half, but I am sorry that our seniors didn't go out with winning the bell and finished 2-2 in the game," Mourouzis added.
Shephard led the Tigers with 51 rushing yards in just three carries and totaled 97 on four pass receptions. Along with 35 yards in kickoff returns, he finished with 183 all-purpose yards. Yoder completed 21 of 41 passes for 184 yards, but was intercepted three times. Stephens and Andy Tolle each had four catches.
Chris Morris led Wabash with 66 yards in 21 carries. The 66 yards was a season low. Knott finished with 25 of 40 passing for 283 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Short, Nick Dawson and Brandon Clifton each had seven receptions.
Cory Partlow led DePauw with 12 tackles including two for losses, while Jeremy Legge and Matt Stahley each had eight. Dustin Hertel totaled two sacks as the Tigers finished with five as a team.
Josh Foster led Wabash with nine stops and Chad Springer had seven. Foster recorded two of Wabash's four sacks and they totaled 16 yards. Springer added a 16-yard sack as well.
The two teams meet for the 110th time in Greencastle on Saturday, November 15, 2003.