DePauw hangs on to edge Kenyon 32-31, improves to 8-1
GAMBIER, Ohio — DePauw entered the fourth quarter trailing Kenyon 32-31, but Tigers quarterback Jake Lasky completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Andy Hunt on 4th-and-6 from the Kenyon 35 with 11:03 left and the defense kept the Lords off the board for a 37-32 North Coast Athletic Conference victory.
The Tigers moved to 8-1 overall and 7-1 in the NCAC, while Kenyon dropped to 0-9 overall and 0-8 in conference play.
Following Hunt’s go-ahead touchdown, DePauw’s defense stop Kenyon on downs at the DePauw 23. After picking up a first down on their next series, the Tigers were forced to punt but Kenyon fumbled the return and Chandler Nicholson recovered giving DePauw the ball on the Kenyon 28 with 3:19 left.
DePauw was unable to pick up a first down and turned the ball over on downs with just 57 seconds left. Nicoholson intercepted Kenyon quarterback Thomas Merkle on third down to preserve the victory.
The Tigers grabbed a 7-0 lead on the game’s first possession as Demarco Henry scored on a 6-yard run, but Merkle teamed twice with Ian Robertson for touchdowns of 37 and 79 yards to give the Lords a 13-7 lead with 18 seconds left in the first.
Two more touchdown runs by Henry gave DePauw a 21-13 advantage midway through the second period.
Merkle and Robertson connected for a third score covering 85 yards on the second play of the next drive to cut the Tigers lead to 21-19.
DePauw expanded the lead to 31-19 at the half after a Jake Tanner field goal with 5:52 left and Lasky’s 33-yard pass to Nolan Ayres with only six seconds remaining in the half. That touchdown was set up by Nicholson’s first interception of the game at the Tigers’ 4 that he returned 37 yards.
Kenyon scored on its first series of the second half as Merkle completed a 10-yard scoring pass to Brandon Byrd just 1:48 into the half.
The Tigers weren’t able to generate much offense in the third quarter as they lost the ball on a sack and fumble on the first series and punted on the second. On DePauw’s third possession of the quarter Lasky was sacked by Michael Picone who forced a fumble that Jacob LaPoint recovered in the end zone to give the Lords a 32-31 lead.
Ramon Lopez led DePauw with 31 rushing yards on 10 carries, while Lasky completed 17 of 33 for 267 yards with two touchdowns and one interceptions. Hunt caught six of those for 111 yards and one score. Henry carried the ball just five times for 18 yards, but three of those were touchdowns.
Merkle completed 32 of 60 for 468 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Ian Bell caught 11 for 84 yards, while Byrd had 10 catches for 121 yards and Robertson seven for 243.
Nicholson paced DePauw’s defense with eight tackles including 1.5 for loss in addition to a fumble recovery, hurry and two interceptions. Hunter Sego followed with seven stops.
DePauw wraps up the regular season on Saturday, with the 124th renewal of the rivalry against Wabash as the teams battle for the Monon Bell for the 86th time.