DePauw Defense Forces Five Turnovers but Tigers Fall to Big Red

Greencastle, Ind. - DePauw's defense forced five Denison turnovers, but the Tigers came up with just four field goals as the Big Red used a fourth-quarter comeback for a 20-12 North Coast Athletic Conference win. The Tigers dropped to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the NCAC, while the Big Red improved to 4-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove to the Denison 2, but a 2-yard loss on second down and a 6-yard sack on third forced them to settle for a Jake Tanner 27-yard field goal.

Denison drove to the DePauw 21 on its opening possession, but quarterback Canaan Gebele was sacked by Matt Crupi and fumbled with Matt Mitsch recovering at the DePauw 35. 

Early in the second, DePauw linebacker Chandler Nicholson picked off Gebele at the 50 and returned it to the Denison 11. After the Tigers failed to reach paydirt, Tanner booted a 25-yard field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, Connor Perkins forced Denison returner Dara Laja to fumble and Cade Jones recovered at the Denison 35. DePauw collected one first down before Denison stopped the Tigers and Tanner came on for a 39-yard field goal to make it 9-0 with 5:32 left in the half.

DePauw's John Halloran intercepted Gebele on the third play of Denison's next possession and quarterback Cam Haynes connected with Andy Hunt for 30 yards on first down. The Tigers' drive stalled at the Denison 12 and Tanner tied the school record with his fourth field goal of the game to extend DePauw's lead to 12-0 with 3:26 left in the half.

The Tigers' defense again forced a three-and-out, but Denison punter Calvin Montgomery pinned the hosts back to the 7 with a 56-yard punt. Denison used all three of its timeouts and forced DePauw into a short punt to the Tigers' 35.

Gebele rushed for eight yards on first down before connecting with TJ Oursler for 14 and then the final 13 to Hunter Biddle to make it 12-6 with 20 seconds left in the half. DePauw's Dylan Hyatt blocked the point-after and DePauw took a 12-6 lead into the halftime.

Neither team threatened in the third and, early in the fourth, DePauw corner Brooks Hepp intercepted Gebele at the DePauw 7 and returned it to the Tigers' 45. A Denison personal foul after the play moved the ball to the Big Red 40. However, the Tigers couldn't convert and were forced to punt. 

Later in the fourth, Denison started at its own 19 with 5:55 remaining and Gebele drove the Big Red to the go-ahead score by rushing for seven yards and completing 6 of 8 passes including the final 10-yard strike to David Weimar. Pat Kramer's kick gave Denison a 13-12 lead with 2:47 left.

The Tigers' Logan Greene returned the ensuing kickoff to the DePauw 45, but a blocking penalty brought the ball back to the 17. DePauw was unable to convert and Denison took over on the Tigers' 15. Three plays later Biddle scored on a 15-yard run on third down. The point-after made it 20-12 with 1:17 remaining.

Haynes completed 5 of 7 passes to the Denison 21, but incomplete passes on third and fourth down gave the ball back to the Big Red with 20 seconds left.

DePauw totaled 251 yards of offense including 118 on the ground as Tanner Cleveland led with 40. Haynes completed 16 of 32 for 133 yards, but was sacked five times. Hunt led with six catches for 52 yards.

Biddle paced the Denison rushing attack with 42 yards, while Gebele was 22 of 33 for 232 yards and was sacked four times. Weimar had eight catches for 98 yards including five grabs on the game-winning series.

Denison entered with the 10th-ranked total offense in Division III and the Tigers held them to 301 yards - 215 below their season average. Crupi led the way with 14 tackles including 3.0 for losses of 20 yards. Hepp finished with 10 stops. Joe Zanca paced the unit with 1.5 sacks with Orrison and Crupi adding one each.

Ryan Hallinan led Denison with nine tackles, while Andrew Smith and Tristan Knoer each had eight.

DePauw returns to action on Saturday, October 20, when it travels to league-leading Wittenberg.