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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wabash keeps Bell for fourth-straight year

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DePauw defenders Robby Schuler (21) and Dennis Callicutt (13) sandwich Wabash quarterback Chase Belton during Saturday's Monon Bell Classic. The Tigers lost the game 23-0. [Order this photo]
CRAWFORDSVILLE -- The DePauw University football team wrapped up its worst season in nearly two decades with a disappointing 23-0 loss to rival Wabash College on Saturday in the annual Monon Bell Classic.

The Tigers have now lost four consecutive games against their rivals.

"This is why you go to one of these schools -- to play in this game. We just couldn't get it done," DPU senior Cody Crook said. "Losing the Bell, not having the Bell for four years ... It's tough to deal with."

Little Giants junior running back Tyler Holmes had 33 carries for 169 yard and a touchdown as the team out gained DPU on offense, 432 yards to 142.

"We just didn't put enough together to make it matter and get the ball in the end zone," DPU interim head coach Scott Srnka said. "For the most part we were playing well. We were letting (the Little Giants) do their thing and hurt themselves (with penalties) and we kind of fell lapsed into that."

DPU finished the year 2-8, its worst season since going 2-8 in 1994.

The Tigers began the year 0-2 before firing head coach Robby Long after two-plus years at the helm.

The team was 2-6 after, but failed to establish an identity on either side of the ball.

Defensively the team played well in spots early, only giving up a few big plays per game. Late in the year the unit struggled to get off the field.

The offense showed few bright spots.

Sophomore quarterback Drew Seaman began the year as the starter, but a week-three concussion forced him out of action.

Freshman Justin Murray stepped in, but was unable to establish any rhythm or consistency in the passing game.

When Seaman returned to action in week seven, the two young quarterbacks began splitting time.

Seaman found occasional success, but it was rarely consistent throughout an extended time.

The sophomore started against Wabash and played most of the first three quarters, completing just 14-of-31 passes for 103 yards and an interception.

Murray, used early only in non-traditional and running formations, came in for the last few drives of the game, going 2-for-7 for four yards.

Wabash's shutout victory could have even more decisive.

The Little Giants committed 18 penalties for 133 yards.

The rival schools battled to a 0-0 tie midway through the second quarter when senior quarterback Chase Belton connected with junior receiver Sean Hildebrand in the endzone.

Wabash added a field goal before the half.

With DPU's inability to move the ball, the 9-0 lead proved to be insurmountable.

"I can't say enough about my teammates and my coaches for just pushing through the adversity we've had this year," Crook said. "I'm so proud of how we played and how we handled ourselves like men, and like gentlemen, throughout this whole season."

Srnka said after the game he is proud of his team, despite the loss, for continuing to fight through the adversity they faced throughout the season.

"We didn't stop playing. We played our butts off," Srnka said. "That's because of these darn seniors. Because of their commitment and what they wanted to do -- they wanted to finish on a strong note."

Wabash continued to control the clock in the second half with its powerful inside running game. The Little Giants added two more rushing touchdowns to salt away the victory.

The DPU seniors became the first group to lose four straight Monon Bell Classics since the Tigers won five straight from 1996-2000.

In 119 meetings between the two schools, Wabash holds a 57-53-9 edge.

The Tigers seniors finished with a 22-18 career record.

In addition to the head-coaching search, DPU will also be looking for a new face to lead its offense.

DePauw announced the resignation of offensive coordinator Joe Deifel on Monday.

Including the shutout against Wabash, Deifel's offense averaged a disappointing 17.7 points per game, which was 190th out of 239 teams in NCAA Division III.

Deifel coached at DePauw for two seasons.

Srnka, who was the teams defensive coordinator and secondary coach prior to beginning his head coaching responsibilities, let Deifel and the offensive staff control all aspects of that side of the ball.

Deifel stated he was resigning to pursue non-coaching opportunities.