Tigers lose heartbreaker to Trinity in closing seconds
September 25, 2004
GREENCASTLE, Ind. - Faced with fourth-and-goal from the DePauw 9-yard line with just 10.6 seconds left, Trinity quarterback Dan DesPlaines rolled to his right and connected with Robin Kelner and gave Trinity a 29-28 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference win.
Trinity, ranked ninth in the latest Division III coaches' poll and 12th by D3football.com, remained unbeaten at 4-0 and improved to 1-0 in the SCAC. DePauw dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the SCAC.
The touchdown completed a comeback that erased DePauw’s late 12-point lead. DePauw built a 28-16 advantage after Jason Murphy's 15-yard run with 5:32 left.
Following Murphy’s score, Trinity’s Kolby Brailsford took the ensuing kickoff at the goal line and returned it to the Trinity 41. Trinity needed just four plays to cover the 59 yards with DesPlaines teaming with Brailsford for a 25-yard score with 4:53 remaining. Todd Canion’s extra-point made it 28-23.
The Tigers picked up a first down on the next series before Trinity stopped the hosts at the Trinity 49. Bill Riley’s punt sailed into the end zone and Trinity took over on its own 20.
With no timeouts remaining, DesPlaines literally began the two-minute drill as exactly two minutes remained in the contest. Three straight completions moved the ball to the DePauw 40 with the last one covering 26 yards to Robert Kelner. DesPlaines then rushed for eight and Jerrold Jones added seven to move the ball to the DePauw 25.
A 16-yard pass play to Kelner moved the ball to the nine with just over 30 seconds left. Three straight incomplete passes set up the game-winner on fourth down.
DePauw had two chances from their own 40, but Ross Wiethoff’s first-down pass was incomplete and he was sacked on the final play by Dustin Allen.
“It was a great effort by our guys,” DePauw coach Bill Lynch said. “Really we played the game the way we had hoped and just came up a play short.”
“They (DePauw) controlled the line of scrimmage both ways and made some big plays when it counted,” Trinity coach Steve Mohr said.
“It was a great football game and we were fortunate enough to come back,” Mohr added. “DePauw played a great football game and really I think, in a way, deserved to win the game.”
The lead see-sawed early as Trinity’s Canion got the scoring underway with a 20-yard field goal with 1:08 left in the first. DePauw took the lead on a 53-yard pass play from Wiethoff to tight end Chase Jonason just eight seconds into the second. The score was the first of Jonason’s collegiate career.
Jones scored on a 24-yard run with 6:29 left in the half, but Jeremiah Marks made it 14-10 DePauw with a 5-yard run with 4:06 remaining in the second. Trinity took a 16-14 lead with 46 seconds remaining in the half on a 7-yard pass from DesPlaines to Kelner. The three-play, 19-yard drive was set up by a DePauw fumble that Trinity’s Brant McAdams recovered after a hit by Wacey Clarke.
On its first series of the second half, Trinity drove to the DePauw 20, but Canion missed a 37-yard field goal. DePauw converted three consecutive third-down situations on the next possession and moved to the Trinity 33. Marks carried for gains of 18 and two yards but a fumbled snap at the Trinity 11 was recovered by Trinity’s Michael Perez.
Ian MacLeod’s third-down sack of DesPlaines on Trinity’s next possession forced the visiting Tigers to punt and, after a penalty on the return, DePauw took over on the Trinity 37. Wiethoff picked up two yards on second down and Trinity was whistled for a late hit on the play that moved the ball to the Trinity 20.
Four plays later, Wiethoff tossed a 5-yard pass to Claxton for the score that put DePauw ahead 20-16. Wiethoff and Jonason teamed for the two-point conversion to make it 22-16 with 11:40 left.
DePauw linebacker Matt Koch then picked off DesPlaines at the DePauw 45 with 11:01 left. Murphy converted a fourth-and-one situation with a three-yard gain before Wiethoff and Jonason connected for an 8-yard gain to set up Murphy’s score. Wiethoff’s run for the two-point conversion failed.
Trinity entered the game ranked third in the nation with just over 555 total yards per game and totaled 443 with 139 coming in the final 5:21. DePauw finished with 373 total yards.
“The defense played great the whole game,” Lynch said. “I thought our guys did a great job of not giving up big plays.”
Wiethoff completed 10 of 18 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns with Brian Culp hauling in five of those for 79 yards. Murphy finished with a career-high 77 rushing yards.
DesPlaines completed 26 of 40 for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Kelner caught nine for 104 yards and two scores. Jones finished with 98 rushing yards and a touchdown for Trinity.
Defensively, Trinity’s Kacey Clark totaled 16 tackles with one for a loss and one forced fumble. Dustin Hertel and Aaron Key each had six stops for DePauw.
DePauw travels to the University of Chicago next Saturday for a noon contest, while Trinity hosts Rose-Hulman.