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Coming off of five straight victories and last week's 51-14 win over Millsaps, The DePauw University football team hosts Centre College Saturday at 1:30 p

Friday, October 28, 2005

Coming off of five straight victories and last week's 51-14 win over Millsaps, The DePauw University football team hosts Centre College Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

With a 5-1 overall record and a 3-0 record in the SCAC, the Tigers are tied with Trinity University for first place in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.

"If I were a betting man, Trinity is probably going to run the table," Depauw University head coach Tim Rogers said. "And we're going to have to do the same to have a chance to go to the national playoffs."

Trinity defeated Centre College 45-7 last week. Trinity gained 386 yards on offense against the Colonels, including 300 yards on the ground. With running back Jeremiah Marks close to full strength, look for the Tigers to try and match Trinity's performance Saturday.

"I see him playing a lot more this week, but he's going to need his rest," Rogers said. "We're fortunate to have a couple other talented running backs to allow him to catch his breath when need be."

Despite limited playing time the last two weeks, Marks is still the leading rusher the SCAC, averaging 95.2 yards per game. The Tigers are first in the SCAC in rushing offense, averaging 231.2 yards per game.

Centre College also brings a solid offensive attack to the table. The Colonels are second in the SCAC in scoring offense, averaging 27.4 points per game. Running back Adam Blandford is averaging 92.4 points per game, while quarterback Kevin Phelps is averaging 140.9 passing yards per game.

"We know we've got our work cut out for us on defense this week," Rogers said. "The coaches have been working long and hard to make sure we have a good game plan."

Defensively, Centre College ranks near the bottom of the SCAC, allowing an average of 363.4 total yards per game. The Tigers are ranked first in the SCAC in both scoring defense and total defense, allowing an average of 11.5 points and 251.3 yards per game.

"We're starting to really come together as a defensive unit," Rogers said. "We're feeling very comfortable with what we're doing. We're playing very fast and very aggressive. They've definitely started to perfect the system."

In particular, defensive Dustin Hertel is coming off another big performance last week, being named to the D3football.com Team of the Week. Hertel had eight tackles, including two sacks and two forced fumbles. DePauw held Millsaps to 282 yards in the contest, while amassing a total of 522 yards in the game.

"We gave up 14 points," Rogers said. "You would think that we gave up 1,400 points the way our defense practiced this week. They were upset that there was even a touchdown."

With the solid effort on both sides of the field Saturday, DePauw joined an elite group in Division III football. Only 19 teams in Division III football have 500 wins or more. DePauw is now one of them.

"It's an honor and it's very humbling to me that I get to sit in this seat and have that victory happen on my watch," Rogers said. "More than anything, it's a tribute to those that came before me."

With a win Saturday, the Tigers will remain tied for the lead in the SCAC. Although DePauw looks to be the better team, Rogers is not overlooking Centre.

"I don't care who it is," he said. "You have to prepare for a dogfight, down to the wire in overtime every week. Anything less is just a blessing in disguise."

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