The Little Giants posted 19 points in the third quarter en route to their 32-19 victory over DePauw to regain control of the famed Monon Bell after two years of DPU dominance.
The first half of Saturday's game was an uneventful one.
The game began similar to last year's, with Wabash marching down the field and seeing their drive end on an unsuccessful field goal attempt.
DePauw was able to jump on the board first after it stopped Wabash and took over on downs. Things looked familiar to the DePauw crowd as quarterback Spud Dick connected with Alex Koors for a 40-yard gain to open the drive. Dick completed the drive by hooking up with Nathan Evans for a four-yard strike, putting DPU up 7-0 at the 10:26 mark of the second quarter.
It took Wabash almost two full quarters before it was able to muster some points and it was a DePauw miscue in the red zone that lead to its score.
DePauw faced a third-and-one at the Wabash six-yard line, but a bad snap pushed back what looked to be a sure touchdown drive to the 28-yard line. Jordan Havercamp took to the field for a 45-yard field goal attempt, but Wabash's Jake Kollsek blocked the attempt and set in motion the Little Giants' first score of the contest.
With seven seconds remaining before the half, Matt Hudson hit Kody LeMond for a nine-yard touchdown. However, DePauw took a 7-6 lead into the half after Ryan Woodard literally jumped the line and blocked Spencer Whitehead's extra point attempt.
The Tigers held the advantage, but it was clear the Wabash had a new sense of life after the touchdown.
"We didn't play very well," DePauw head coach Robbie Long said. "We didn't play with a lot of poise, we didn't play with a lot of confidence, so we're going to watch the film and try to put our finger on why we played the way we did today.
"We had a great week of practice," he continued. "Things didn't go our way early and it just kind of snowballed on us. You'd like the guys to play a little more confident and understand they're still in the game."
After Wabash took the lead 12-7 following a Derrick Yoder nine-yard run at 11:06, DePauw responded and retook the lead when Jon Ellis scored from one-yard out. The two-point conversion failed leaving the DPU lead at 13-12. It would be their last.
Wabash scored less than a minute later when Hudson found Jonathan Horn for a 51-yard touchdown to lead 18-13. A minute later following Dick's second interception of the game, they added another seven when Hudson called Wes Chamblee's number for a five-yard touchdown with 3:01 in the third, taking a 25-13 lead into the fourth quarter.
Staring at a 32-13 deficit, DePauw tore down the field, with possession receiver Brayden Dahlstom hauling in Dick's pass for a five-yard score with 3:23 remaining.
The Tigers forced Wabash to punt on their next possession, but watched the game end when Jake Martin intercepted a Dick offering to seal the win.
Following the contest, Long spoke about the problems the team had on the day and pointed out the team play its heart out and the coaching staff shared the responsibility.
"We didn't execute today and it starts with the coaches all the way down," Long commented. "I'm not pointing the finger at our players; they came out here and they fought and they wanted to win this ball game. We just didn't execute and play very well today."
Dick passed for 380 yards on 39-of-50 passing, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Dahlstrom hauled in seven catches for 58 yards and a score, while Nathan Evans caught five passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Koors had a game-high 11 catches for 149 yards, and Bryan Mulligan caught seven balls for 75 yards. Derrick Karazsia led the rushing attack with 17 carries for 63 yards, while Ellis had eight carries for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Wabash seized the all-time series record (54-53-9) with the win. DePauw still holds the advantage in contests for the Monon Bell with a 37-35-6 record.
Now the team has to get ready for its first-ever NCAA Division III playoff game against Thomas More in Crestview Hills, Ky. The 14th-ranked Saints are the second-seed in the Wesley (Del.) College regional and enter the playoffs with a perfect 10-0 record. DePauw is the regional's seventh-seed.
DePauw travels to Thomas More for the first round of the Division III football playoffs Saturday at noon.
At Blackstock Stadium
Wabash 0 6 19 7 -- 32
DePauw 0 7 6 6 -- 19
DPU -- Dick 4 yd. pass to Evans (Havercamp kick) 10:26
W -- Hudson 9 yd. pass to LeMond (kick blocked) :07
W -- Yoder 9 yd. run (conversion failed) 11:06
DPU -- Ellis 1yd. run (conversion failed) 5:02
W -- Hudson 51yd. pass to Horn (conversion failed)4:17
W -- Hudson 5 yd. pass to Chamblee (Whitehead kick) 3:01
W -- Mambourg 1 yd. run (Whitehead kick) 5:14
DPU -- Dick 5 yd. pass to Dahlstrom (kick failed) 3:23
Passing -- Hudson 19-30-3-0 325 yards
Rushing -- Mambourg 13-42 TD, Hudson 4-28, Yoder 8-26 TD, Stevens 1-0
Receiver -- Horn 4-103 TD, Chamblee 7-97 TD, LeMond 4-81 TD, Young 3-34, Yoder 1-10
Passing -- Dick 39-50-2-3, 380 yards
Rushing -- Karazsia 17-63, Ellis 8-24 TD, Dick 2-9, Koors 1-2
Receiving -- Koors 11-149, Mulligan 7-75, Dahlstrom 7-58 TD, Evans 5-35 TD, Ellis 3-21, Wagner 2-13, Karazsia 2-9, Willsey 1-13, Branigan 1-7
Next game -- DePauw will face Thomas More in the first round of the Division III football playoffs Saturday at noon.