Hunt solid but DePauw loses at Denison 42-21

Saturday, October 5, 2013
Versatile DePauw senior running back Nikko Sansone returns a punt during a game earlier this season. Sanson had 18 carries for 78 yards and one reception for 24 yards in the loss at Denison on Saturday. (Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN)

GRANVILLE, Ohio -- The DePauw football team got off to a fast start at Denison on Saturday but did almost nothing to slow the Big Red in the second half, losing 49-21.

The Tigers jumped out to 14-0 lead in the first quarter and carried a 21-14 margin into halftime behind the accurate arm of freshman quarterback Matt Hunt.

Named the starter earlier this week, Hunt finished the first half 8-for-11 with 154 yards and two touchdown, putting credence behind his promotion.

The second half wasn't quite as sharp.

Denison (4-1, 3-1 NCAC) scored 28 unanswered points in the second half when DPU gained just 83 yards from scrimmage.

The Tigers dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in NCAC.

DePauw wasted little time in asserting itself offensively as the Tigers needed just five plays after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead. Hunt found J.D. Robinson in stride for a 34-yard scoring strike.

Later in the first, DePauw's Nick Freund recovered a Denison fumble at the Big Red 28. Hunt rushed for nine yards on second down and Nikko Sansone ran up the middle on the next play for a 19-yard score to push the lead to 14-0 with 2:51 remaining in the first.

The Big Red returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards to their own 43 and, on the fifth play of the series and final of the first quarter, Brandon Sklenar teamed with Colin Morris for a 44-yard scoring pass to close the DePauw lead to 14-7.

After Denison's defense stopped the Tigers, the Big Red took over on their own 10. Denison crossed midfield before the Tigers were called for a pair of personal fouls following a second down play giving the Big Red the ball on the DePauw 14.

The Tigers' defense stopped the Big Red on third down, but DePauw was called for a facemask resulting in a first down. Two plays later, Sklenar rushed in from the 1 to tie the game with 4:24 left in the half.

DePauw answered quickly, however, as Hunt completed a 49-yard scoring pass to Connor Jeffers on the sixth play of the next drive to put the Tigers back in front, 21-14 with 1:53 left in the half.

Denison knotted the score on the first series of the second half as Sklenar connected with DuShawn Brown for a 43-yard score. The Big Red defense stopped the Tigers on three plays and the offense needed just eight plays to cover 55 yards with Sklenar scoring on a 14-yard run to give the hosts a 28-21 lead with 5:45 remaining in the third.

Sklenar teamed with Hunter Winans for a 17-yard score with 12 seconds left in the third to extend the lead to 35-21.

The Tigers drove into Denison territory early in the fourth, but Hunt was sacked on fourth down. Denison's final score came with 3:39 left in the game when Sklenar tossed a 15-yard scoring pass to Jack Baranese.

The Big Red outgained DePauw 487-297 and held a 24-12 advantage in first downs. In the second half alone, Denison outgained the Tigers 338-83 and had 15 first downs to DePauw's three.

Hunt completed 12 of 19 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns with Barry Flynn catching six for 67 yards. Sansone rushed for 67 yards and totaled 149 all-purpose yards.

Sklenar completed 23 of 28 for 292 yards and four scores with five passes each going to Brown, Morris and John Wilson. Wilson also rushed for 72 yards in nine tries.

Cody Baker led the DePauw defense with 11 tackles followed by Adam Folta with 10. Joel Elliott led Denison with nine stops and Pat Foley had eight. The Big Red finished with eight tackles for losses totaling 35 yards.

DePauw returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 12, for a 1 p.m. Old Gold Day contest with Oberlin. The event will also be the dedication game for Nick Mourouzis Field.

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