GREENCASTLE-- Unbeaten DePauw, fueled by its high-powered passing attack routed Rhodes College 42-18 in the 104th Old Gold Day homecoming game Saturday at Blackstock Stadium.
The Tigers are 5-0 and took command in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference race at 4-0. It's the best start for DePauw since 1980.
"It's awesome," DePauw wide receiver Brayden Dahlstrom said. "We're 5-0 and sitting on top of the conference. That's where we wanted to be at the beginning of the season."
DePauw quarterback Michael Engle passed for five touchdowns. The senior from Terre Haute South completed 29-of-38 for 339 yards and had one intercepted. The Tigers had 10 players with receptions, led by All-American wide receiver Alex Koors with eight and Dahlstrom with seven.
The Tigers' tailback duo of Derrick Karazsia and Jon Ellis combined to run for 108 yards on 31 carries.
"They're (offense) coming together," DePauw coach Robby Long said. "Our offense is a timing offense and today we had 10 different guys catch the football and that's big time. To be able to run the football and then you've got to cover every receiver on the field, that's not easy to do. When you're clicking in the running and passing, we're a pretty dangerous offense."
Dahlstrom, a senior from North Putnam, caught touchdown passes of 18 and 13 yards from Engle, who had his third 300-yard game of the season.
"Mick (Engle) is doing everything we ask of him," Dahlstrom said. "He's making plays, getting us the all where we need it. We have all the confidence in the world for him to get us into the right play and make the play for us. He prepares well and he knows what plays we need to beat the defense. That's probably his best attribute."
Wide receiver Colin Doran caught five passes for 91 yards and one touchdown. It was the best game of the senior's career at DePauw. He had 10 career receptions, nine this year, going into the game.
"I had the opportunity of making some plays today and with the help of the whole line and Engle did a great job throwing me the ball," Doran said. "I played a lot more than I had in any game this year. I started playing a lot more last week and this week it was full on. I was playing a different position, the slot. I was playing lower down, like our fifth receiver, before and now I was going in for three-, four- and five-wide sets."
Rhodes (2-3,1-1 SCAC) tried to take away the outside and it left the middle open, where the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Doran flourished.
"This was the first time all season really where things were kind of opening up over the middle on those kind of trench routes and we hit a lot of them," Doran said.
Doran earned his playing time in practice.
"He got the opportunities because he works hard every day," Long said. "What you saw today on the field is what he shows us every day in practice. We knew whoever was in that position was going to get a lot of balls thrown to them because of what (Rhodes) do on defense.
"We're going to take what they give us and today Doran had a big day and a bunch of other guys had big days. Doran is a great football player."
Engle completed 18-of-22 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 28-0 lead at halftime.
The Tigers drove 69 yards on eight plays for their first touchdown, a 17-yard pass from Engle to Doran with 3:27 left in the first quarter.
"That (touchdown) was big," Doran said. "It was good for us to get on top early and kind of get in their heads that they were going to be in trouble all day."
Koors and Dahlstrom also had key catches on the drive.
On third-down-and-7 from the Tigers' 47, Engle connected with Koors for an 11-yard gain.
Two plays later, Dahlstrom made a spectacular one-handed catch of Engle's long throw for a 28-yard gain to the Rhodes' 12.
"We wanted to take a shot downfield, so we knew we could go outside on 'em," Dahlstrom said. "I got behind the defense and then Engle put the ball where it need to be where I could make the play. It was out front of me and I reached out with my left hand and ended up bringing it in with two."
The Tigers scored on their next three possessions.
Karazsia, a 200-pound senior with the toughness to run inside, had a 17-yard run, caught a screen pass for a 14-yard gain, ran 7 yards to the 1 and scored on the next play with 12:34 remaining in the second quarter.
DePauw went 62 yards on 10 plays, with Engle connecting with wide receiver Nathan Evans for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 5:12 left in the half.
The Tigers traveled 65 yards on five plays for its fourth touchdown of the first half, a drive that began with 1:05 remaining and ended with 27.8 on the clock.
Engle went 5-for-5. He opened with a gain of 13 to Dahlstrom, followed by a 7-yard pass to Karazsia and a 21-yard gain to Doran. Evans caught a 6-yard pass and Dahlstrom scored on an 18-yarder in which he spun away from the defender.
DePauw plays Adrian at Blackstock Stadium Saturday, with the opening kickoff at 1 p.m.
"It's a great start to the season," Long said. "We can't worry about records or how many (wins) in a row, we've got to worry about winning number six next week and that's it. It's all we're focused on."
Rhodes 0 0 18 0 -- 18
DePauw 7 21 7 7 -- 42
D -- Doran 17 pass from Engle (Malm kick) at 3:27
D-- Karazsia 1 run (Malm kick) at 12:34
D -- Evans 12 pass from Engle (Malm kick) at 5:12
D -- Dahlstrom 18 pass from Engle (Malm kick) at 0:27.8
R -- Legens 4 pass from Perkins (kick failed) at 12:22
R -- Perkins 3 run (run failed) at 8:05
D -- Koors 2 pass from Engle (Malm kick) at 6:14
R -- Jackson 34 pass from Perkins (run failed) at 5:07
D -- Dahlstrom 13 pass from Engle (Malm kick) at 5:41
Passing: R--Perkins 21-43-0 248; D--Engle 29-38-1 339, Schweir 1-2-0 5.
Rushing: R---Perkins 11-84, Gilbert 10-16, Rose 5-(-6), Legens 2-(-10); D--Karaszia 14-61, Ellis 17-47, Engle 2-13, Koors 1-(-2).
Receiving: R--Legens 7-42, Lartigue 5-93, White 4-31, Jackson 3-68, Gilbert 2-14; D--Koors 8-79, Dahlstrom 7-104, Doran 5-91, Evans 3-26, Karazsia 2-27, Willsey 1-8, Branigan 1-6, Ganser 1-5, Ellis 1-2, Morgan 1-2.