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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playoff berth within grasp of DPU Tigers

Friday, November 6, 2009

(Photo)
GREENCASTLE -- It's been a year of firsts for the DePauw University football team.

It defeated Trinity for the first time in school history two weeks ago. It defeated Millsaps for the first time in several years and on Saturday. With a little luck, it will earn its first playoff bid in the Division III tournament in program history.

If the Tigers defeat Austin and Trinity wins, DPU will get a piece of the SCAC championship and the conference bid.

But according to DPU interim head coach Robby Long, it won't be a walk in the park for the Tigers.

"To date, Austin might be one of the toughest opponents we have seen all year," Long said. "They run a non-conventional offense in the wishbone wing-T.

"The thing that is difficult about this offense is that it is a very physical offense, but what really causes problems is that if someone doesn't cover the pitch or the quarterbac, then that can open up for a big play and that is what we don't want to happen," Long added "And on top of that, they have some really good athletes in those positions."

The Kangaroos might have some solid players in those positions, but the Tigers are no slouch.

DPU comes into Saturday's matchup on the back of a five-game winning streak, thanks to an offense that has been putting up some huge numbers. The Tigers have been averaging 439.9 yards of offense this season with Spud Dick leading the way averaging 296.8 yards passing. Alex Koors is Dick's No.1 one man on the receiving end. Koors has been averaging 133.6 yards receiving per contest this season.

Dick and Koors aren't the only weapons that the Tigers have. They also have a solid running game.

On the ground, DPU has been averaging 125.4 yards rushing with Derrick Karazsia leading the team with a 65.3 game average. Even though 125.4 yards doesn't seem much for a team average, the running game plays a huge part in the Tigers offense.

"We need to establish our running game first," Long said. "When we do that, it opens up things in the passing game for Spud and Alex. That's why we're a run-first team."

Long knows that it doesn't matter how many yards his team has if they can't take care of the ball.

"We can't turn the ball over," Long said. "The one thing you do not want to do with an triple option team is turn the ball over and give them a short field. You don't want to turn the ball over on the 40-yard line and that is all they have to go.

"With a triple option team, you want to make them drive the length of the football field," Long added.

Long knows that either way you look at Saturday, it's not going to be easy.

"It's going to be a challenge for us," Long said. "We just need to take care of our assignments and stop their running game and force them in some long yard situations and make them do things that they are not comfortable doing.

"If they had it their way, they would never pass the ball. They only pass the ball when they have to and that's why they are a top 20 rushing team and it will be a challenge to stop it," Long added.

When he was asked if his players felt any extra pressure this week, he simply said what's different this week compared to the last few weeks?

"We have been in the same must-win situation since the second week of the season when we lost to Centre," Long said. "There isn't any extra pressure on us. The pressure has been the same for us the last six weeks.

"We just need to handle ourselves that same way we have since the Centre game," Long said.

Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at Blackstock Stadium and you can listen to the game live on WGRE 91.5 FM.