Crawfordsville, Ind. - A pair of big plays by host Wabash in the opening quarter put DePauw in a deficit it would never erase and the 20th-ranked Little Giants fought off a late DePauw comeback for a 24-17 Monon Bell game win. DePauw finished the season at 4-6 overall and 4-5 in the North Coast Athletic Conference, while Wabash improved to 9-1 overall and 8-1 in the NCAC and captured a three-way share of the league title.
Wabash was faced with a third-and-eight from its own 21 in the opening minute of the game before quarterback Jake Reid found Ryan Thomas near midfield and Thomas took it the rest of the way for a 79-yard score.
DePauw senior Matt Labus, making his first start since injuring his knee in the season opener against Central, was unable to make it through the Tigers' second series as he reinjured the knee and was replaced by sophomore Chase Andries with 8:54 left in the quarter.
The Little Giants drove into DePauw territory midway through the quarter, but Dylan Hyatt picked off Reid in the end zone and returned it to the DePauw 41 for his first collegiate interception. A Wabash personal foul moved the ball into Wabash territory, but the Tigers weren't able to convert.
The teams exchanged punts and DePauw took over on the Wabash 42, but the possession was short-lived as Wabash's Byshup Rhodes forced Andries into a fumble and scooped the ball up at the 46 and ran it 54 yards for a score that made it 14-0 with 2:35 left in the opening stanza.
DePauw responded as Andries picked up 27 on a second-down run on the Tigers' next series and teamed with Blake Podschlne for 26 yards to the Wabash 1 following another Wabash personal foul. Andries lost a yard on first down before Demarco Henry gained it back on second and was stopped on a third down vault. Andries then found Andy Hunt for an over-the-shoulder grab on fourth down to cut the lead to 14-7 with just 1:07 gone in the second.
Later in the second, a bad punt snap resulted in a 27-yard loss and Wabash took over on the DePauw 29. Schuyler Nehrig booted a 25-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 5:29 remaining in the half.
The Tigers wasted little time in responding as Andries connected with Hunt on the first play of the next series for 48 yards to the Wabash 27. On third-and-five, Andries found Michael Grace open in the end zone to cut the lead to 17-14 at the 4:20 mark.
Wabash extended the margin back to 10 as Reid tossed a 9-yard scoring pass to Ivan Martinez with 13 seconds left to cap a 9-play, 65-yard drive. The Little Giants took a 24-14 lead into the intermission.
Hyatt ended another Wabash threat early in the third with his second interception of the day as he picked off Reid at the DePauw 13. However, the Tigers couldn't capitalize and punted it back. Tigers' linebacker Brody Gude intercepted Reid on Wabash's next possession but again DePauw was forced to punt after a three-and-out.
Wabash appeared poised to build on the lead early in the fourth, but Nehrig's 37-yard field goal glanced off the right upright and DePauw took over on its 20 with 12:21 remaining.
Hunt rushed for 15 on first down and Andries connected with Will Harris for 16 on the next play as the Tigers crossed midfield. Andries and Hunt teamed for a 10-yard pass play on second down before Hunt carried for 24 to the Wabash 12. The Tigers advanced to the Little Giants 10 and Andries ran for six yards on third down. After a DePauw delay of game penalty, Jake Tanner came on to knock in a 26-yard field goal and trim the deficit to 24-17 with 8:17 left. The field goal was Tanner's 15th of the season as he tied the single-season school record held by Marko Adams in 2016.
The Little Giants ran over six minutes off the clock as back Isaac Avant carried the ball on nine of the first 11 plays. Reid wasn't able to connect with Avant on fourth-and-five and DePauw took over on its own 21.
Andries completed three straight to Harris for a total of 34 yards to the Wabash 45. After an incomplete pass and an Andries run for no gain, the Tigers faced fourth-and six. Andries was pressured to the sideline and was picked off by Jacob Macaluso. Wabash was able to run out the clock and retain the Bell.
Wabash outgained DePauw, 403-320, and held a 19-17 edge in first downs. The Little Giants also led in rushing yards, 171-137.
Hunt paced DePauw with 51 rushing yards and caught eight passes for 73 yards. Andries completed 17 of 26 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in addition to rushing for 42 yards. Harris finished with five catches for 54 yards.
Avant paced the Little Giants with 150 rushing yards on 36 carries, while Reid completed 13 of 28 for 232 yards with two TDs and three interceptions. Oliver Page led the way with five catches for 73 yards with Thomas totaling 95 yards on three grabs.
Brock Heffron and Brandon Yeagy had eight tackles each for Wabash, while Jacob Helmer had the only sack of the game.
NOTES: Andy Hunt's 191 all-purpose yards were the most by a DePauw player in a Bell game since Hunt had 200 in 2015 ... Hunt finished second in DePauw history with 4,240 career all-purpose yards, 2,994 receiving yards and 219 receptions ... Dylan Hyatt's two interceptions were the most by a DePauw player in a Bell game since Steve Valdiserri had two in 2008 ... this marked just the third time since 1980, that the team with more turnovers won the Monon Bell game ... with the win, Wabash extended its series lead to 62-54-9 and its advantage in Monon Bell games to 43-38-6.