DePauw, Wabash resume Monon Bell Game Saturday
After a year’s delay, the Monon Bell will return to the sideline at Little Giant Stadium Saturday as DePauw and Wabash resume one of the country’s longest annual football rivalries.
The 127th Monon Bell Game will see the Tigers looking to hang on to the Bell for a third-straight year for the first time since the turn of the century capped a five-year run of success in the matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:07 p.m.
Standing at 8-1, DePauw has already won the NCAC title with an 8-0 record in conference play, securing a spot in the NCAA Division III Football Tournament in the process, while the Little Giants sit at 6-3, 5-3 overall in NCAC play.
The series resumes with Wabash leading the overall count 62-55-9 and 43-39-6 since it became the Monon Bell Game.
DePauw won the 2019 Monon Bell game with a touchdown by Gavin Ritter in the final minute to win 17-13 on Nick Mourouzis Field. It was the school’s second win in four years after a seven-year drought against Wabash.
The Tigers have won eight-straight games this season, including their most recent outing, an NCAC title-winning 66-13 romp over Oberlin, the seventh time the defense has held a team to just two scores this season.
A third loss in four outings continued a late season slide for the Little Giants, who were shut out in the second half of a 35-14 loss to Wittenberg, finishing with three interceptions, two turnovers on downs and a missed field goal in the final 30 minutes of game time last week.
Saturday’s contest has the potential to be one of the highest-scoring games in the history of the series as the Tigers have averaged around 37 points and 450 yards of offense each weekend while Wabash, despite suffering three losses, hasn’t lacked for excitement, averaging around 500 yards per game with scoring 38 points a game.
The difference has lied on the defensive end as DePauw has started off halves strong, allowing 21 points in both the first and third quarter all season while winning the turnover battle, especially in pass defense, having recorded 18 interceptions and at least one in the last 11 games.
Wabash, while flying on offense, has been left attempting to win in a shootout each week, having only held one opponent to two scores or less this season. In their three losses, the Little Giants have given up at least 35 points.
The quarterback battle between Tiger senior Chase Andries and Little Giant sophomore Liam Thompson will be a major storyline within the game with Andries throwing for 243 yards and Thompson rifling the ball for 310 yards each outing.
Defending the pass has varied between the two teams with DePauw allowing just 216 yards through the air while Wabash has given up 288 yards against a similar set of opponents.
The Little Giants have also been decent in the running game, averaging 185 yards a game with Donovan Snyder averaging just under 100 yards per game while Thompson adds another 40 yards on the ground.
DePauw head coach Brett Dietz will be getting his first crack at the Monon Bell Game, having started as head coach during the truncated 2020 spring season and in 8-1 in his first full season at the helm, having been the offensive coordinator since 2014.
Wabash head coach Don Morel will be on the opposite sideline for the fifth time, having split his first four meetings 2-2.
After a total of five losses in his first three years, Morel and the Little Giants are in danger of losing four times twice in three years.
Only a handful of Putnam County natives are involved with either program as North Putnam graduates Aidan Baker and Adam Ammons are part of the Tiger roster, the latter starting at right tackle on the offensive line, while Greencastle graduate Abe Wade and South Putnam graduate Mitchell Bock represent the Little Giants, who also count among their coaching staff former Eagle head coach Nathan Akers, who coaches tight ends.
The game will be shown on ISC Sports Network, which is on Channel 81 on Comcast and channel 51 on Endeavor. The game will be called by Greg Rakestaw, Brad Wochomurka and Steve Hoffman and will also be shown on both school’s athletic websites, as well as the ISC Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels and on the ISC Sports Network app.
WGRE will carry the live radio broadcast on 91.5 FM and online at www.wgre.org with Taylor Richardson and Tom Kemper on the call. WNDY 91.3 FM will carry the ISC broadcast audio feed starting at 1 p.m.