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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Monon Bell up for grabs Saturday

Thursday, November 9, 2006

DePauw University's football team will play its biggest game of the year Saturday when it travels to Wabash for the 75th annual Monon Bell Classic.

The Tigers enter Saturday's game with an overall record of 6-3 after a 24-14 win over Austin College in their home finale last week.

But there's more than a win at stake Saturday.

There are bragging rights, school pride and a 300-pound bell up for grabs.

The Little Giants have a 52-51-9 advantage in the previous 112 meetings, including a 17-14 win in last season's encounter at Blackstock Stadium.

In the 74 Monon Bell games between the two schools, DePauw has the edge with a 35-33-6 record.

Wabash is 7-2 so far this season, and DePauw coach Matt Walker said that the Little Giants will likely be the Tigers' greatest challengethis year.

"They are as solid a football team that we play," Walker said.

"Their offense is one of the very best in the entire country, and their defense is tough and as fundamentally sound as anyone we've played all year."

The Little Giants average 37 points per game and boast one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in the form of Dustin Huff.

Huff averages almost 300 yards per game and has more than enough talented receivers.

Mike Russell has grabbed 51 catches on the season for 962 yards and has scored a team-leading 12 touchdowns.

Geoff Walker has caught 33 passes for Wabash, gaining 467 yards and tallying five touchdowns.

On the ground, Billy King leads the Little Giants' rushing game, averaging about 50 yards per game and a 4.9 yards-per-carry average.

Defensively Wabash is led by Adrian Pynenberg, who has recorded 91 tackles this season, including 13.0 for loss and 6.5 sacks.

With so much offensive and defensive prowess, Walker said that the Tigers will have to play well against the Little Giants on both sides of the ball.

"We have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides, and we must play great special teams," Walker said.

"Defensively, we need to get to (Huff) and put some pressure on him, and on offense we need great play by our wide receivers to take some of the pressure of of our running game and off of our freshman quarterback."

Both the Tigers' passing and running games have been busy this season.

DePauw's Jeremiah Marks broke the single-season DPU rushing record in last week's game against Austin, bringing his 2006 total up to 1,023, besting the previous record of 1,009 set by Bart Simpson in 1973.

DPU quarterback Spud Dick has completed 56.9 percent of his passes this season and has totaled 992 yards, the second-biggest total for a freshman quarterback in DePauw history.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers are led by Dustin Hertel, who tied the single-season DePauw record for sacks last week, bringing his 2006 total to 14.

Hertel already owns the career sacks mark at DePauw with 35.

Saturday's contest will be played at Wabash, where the Little Giants hold a 24-23-5 advantage all-time.

Wabash and DePauw have exchanged possession of the bell in each of the past two seasons, with DePauw capturing the prize in 2004 and the Little Giants regaining it last season.

The last time the Monon Bell changed hands in three consecutive years was in 1984.

The Tigers and Little Giants will face each other for the 113th time Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at Wabash.

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