Tigers prepare for Old Gold weekend looking for defense

Saturday, October 12, 2013

After the Tigers lost their opening game of the season at Sewanee--and had just a handful plays of more than 10 yards--the DePauw football team started looking for ways to create big plays on offense and score points.

DPU (0-4, 0-3 NCAC) turned to freshman quarterback Matt Hunt two weeks ago and found a solution. Since Hunt took over and senior Nikko Sansone started taking the majority of the carries at running back, the Tigers have moved the ball better, picking up large chunks of yardage and getting on the scoreboard.

"The big plays have helped us the last two games," Lynch said. "We're just not consistent enough right now on either side of the ball."

With Hunt, the Tigers offense relies on big plays and when that works, it works well. But when the big plays aren't there DPU is off the field quickly, putting an extra burden on the still-struggling defense.

Thus far DePauw has possessed the ball 10 percent less than its opponents (28:30 per to 31:30 per), wearing down on the defensive front that is already thin due to injuries to both starting defensive tackles.

"We've got to get more consistent on offense so we can control the ball some and keep it away from the other team's offense," Lynch said. "If we can find a way to control the football some that would certainly help."

That renewed focus will begin Saturday when the Tigers take on the visiting Yeomen of Oberlin College.

The Yeo (1-3, 0-3) will be the closest matchup DPU has had this season, Lynch said, both with experience and personnel.

It's also deep enough into the season now that the two teams have a pair of common opponents--both have lost to Kenyon and Wittenberg--which makes the compatibilities more present.

"Looking at the statistics, it's unbelievable how even we are," Lynch said. "I don't think too much about stats the first couple games, but when you get to about four games there starts to be a trend. ... Watching (film) shows how similar we really are."

If the Tigers are to evolve from the disappointing derivation they've had, this would be a good week to start. DPU has been on the road for three of its first four games and it's Old Gold weekend, DePauw's answer to homecoming since 1907.

The school will also dedicate the new artificial turf field at Blackstock Stadium in honor of former coach Nick Mourouzis.

"It's a big day for this football program," Lynch said. "It's an important day for us, but I think we got a good week of practice. ... It's a good matchup and we just have to keep making progress in the areas that we've made progress."

Kickoff for the Tigers-Yeo game is set for 1 p.m.

The dedication for Nick Mourouzis field will take place at halftime.

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