Third Straight Second-Half Comeback Victory for Tigers; Finish 5-0 at Home

Third Straight Second-Half Comeback Victory for Tigers; Finish 5-0 at Home

November 2, 1996


November 2, 1996, Greencastle, Ind. - Few would argue that the DePauw Tigers should have won Saturday's Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference contest against Manchester. A look at the final stats shows Manchester with a 483-307 advantage in yards of total offense and the Spartans controlled the ball for 17 1/2 more minutes than did the Tigers. Manchester outgained the Tigers on the ground, 213-18. They even had a 26-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

However, the Tigers once again did not quit and, for the third straight week came back in the second half to win. This time they did it with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to win 27-26. With the win, DePauw improves to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the ICAC. Manchester falls to 3-5 and 1-3.

DePauw fell behind 12-0 in the first quarter as Trey Holcomb rushed in from one yard out with 10:03 left in the first quarter, the Spartans tackled DePauw quarterback Bernie Haskins in the end zone with 4:47 left and Jason Cauffman booted a 22-yard field goal with 20 second remaining in the quarter. The Tigers entered the game by allowing just nine points in the first quarter of the first seven games.

DePauw came back on its next possession with a four-play, 63-yard drive capped off by a 45-yard touchdown pass from Bernie Haskins to Jamie Cunha. Jason Gardner's point-after made it 12-7 Manchester. The Spartans made it 18-7 late in the first half on a 49-yard pass play from Steve Panning to Todd Barile.

Manchester drove to the Tigers' 27 on the first possession of the second half, but Tim Cooper intercepted Panning's second-down pass and the Tigers took over on their own 29-yard line. DePauw covered 71 yards in six plays with Greg Cain capping off the drive with an 11-yard scoring run to make it 18-13. The try for two was intercepted by Ben Wyatt. After pinning the Spartans deep in their own territory on the next series, the Tigers were unable to convert from the Manchester 31-yard line when Haskins was sacked by Holcomb on fourth down. The Spartans quickly responded with an eight-play, 64-yard drive which ended with Todd Mason's 28-yard run. Panning's two-point pass to Pat Violette made it 26-13 with just 32 seconds left in the third.

On the next possession, the Tigers were faced with a third and five from their own 41, when Haskins connected with Joe Cheshire for a 24-yard gain. Four plays later Haskins teamed with Jon Clippinger for a 19-yard score. Gardner booted the extra point to cut the Spartan lead to 26-20. It was three and out for the Spartans on the next series and the Tigers began their game-winning drive from the Manchester 40 after a short punt and a 15-yard return by Cassel Truscott.

The Tigers again were faced with a third down situation when Haskins again teamed with Cheshire for a 21-yard gain to the Manchester 11. Consecutive sacks by Alfred Fertil and Trey Holcomb along with a delay of game penalty left the Tigers with third and 34 from the Manchester 35. Haskins then found Cunha for the score with 7:42 left and Jason Gardner's extra point gave the Old Gold its first lead of the game, 27-26.

Manchester then started at their own 19 and used the run and pass to march down the field and take time off the clock. The Tigers stopped the Spartans at the DePauw 13 and Cauffman was called on for a 31-yard field goal. The kick was partially blocked at the line of scrimmage and the Tigers took over with only 2:27 remaining. Manchester still had all three of its timeouts remaining and the Tigers were again faced with a crucial third and eight play. Haskins dropped back to pass, but was flushed from the pocket and forced to scramble. The junior picked up 30 yards on the play and the Tigers had a first down. They were forced to punt after failing to pick up another first down. On the next Manchester play, Panning was picked off by Austin Johnson and the Tigers ran out the clock.

The Tigers, ranked second in Division III in turnover margin, had a plus-four margin on Saturday with four interceptions. Those four gave the Tigers 25 for the season which broke the previous mark of 24 set in 1981. Scott Farnham picked off his ninth pass of the season which tied the DePauw single-season mark.

Haskins completed 20 of 36 passes for 289 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His top receiver was Cunha with nine catches for 163 yards. Mason led Manchester with 113 yards on 29 carries and Panning finished with 72 rushing yards and 270 through the air. Brandon Baker had eight catches for 97 yards.

A trio of Tigers had double-digit tackle totals led by Michael Lewis' 20. Scott Farnham added 13 and Austin Johnson 11. Holcomb, Aaron Wellman and Chad Campbell each had seven tackles for Manchester and Holcomb had three sacks totaling 28 yards.