Delaware, Ohio – The Ohio Wesleyan defensive and special teams units each scored a touchdown today at Selby Stadium as DePauw suffered its first loss of the season by a 27-22 count to the Battling Bishops.
The Tigers dropped to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the North Coast Athletic Conference, while Ohio Wesleyan moved to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in conference play.
DePauw took the opening kickoff and drove to the hosts’ nine, but Marko Adams’ 27-yard field goal was blocked by Jerry Harper. The DePauw defense posted a three-and-out, but Jason Kirchhoff fumbled the punt return and Harper recovered at the DePauw 36.
Seven plays later, Nolan Kovach booted a 28-yard field goal to give Ohio Wesleyan a 3-0 lead with 7:55 left in the first.
The Tigers came right back as Matt Hunt tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Ian Good as DePauw gained a 7-3 lead with 4:48 remaining in the quarter.
DePauw, which entered the game with just two turnovers on the season and none since the September 26 win at Hiram, committed its second of the game when Hunt was picked off by Brad Dotson at the DePauw 32 and Dotson took it in for the score to give the Bishops a 10-7 advantage with 9:50 left in the half.
DePauw’s rocky Leffler forced a fumble that Nate Orrison recovered at the DePauw 39 and Hunt completed three straight passes including the final one for 40 yards to Connor Jeffers. Jack Gruber then rushed 10 yards for the score that gave the Tigers a 14-10 lead with 4:11 remaining in the half.
Ohio Wesleyan responded with a 9-play, 75-yard drive capped by TraVon Wilkes’ 3-yard run that put the hosts back in front, 17-14 with just 57 seconds left.
After a DePauw punt, Ohio Wesleyan was unable to pick up a first down and a snap over the Bishops’ punter’s head went through the end zone and gave DePauw a safety to trim Ohio Wesleyan’s lead to 17-16 with eight seconds left in the half.
Kovach added a 26-yard field goal on Ohio Wesleyan’s first series of the second half to push the margin to 20-16 and then made it 27-16 when Josh Pyles blocked Paul Simon’s punt. Jordan King scooped it up at the Tigers’ 22 and ran it in for the score.
DePauw drove to the Bishops’ 16 on the next series and Kirchhoff scored on a first down run, but a holding call brought the play back. An 11-yard sack pushed the ball back to the 32 and Adams’ 49-yard attempt missed to the right.
Early in the fourth, DePauw drove to the Ohio Wesleyan 37, but Hunt was picked off by Cameron Dawson to end the threat.
DePauw’s defense held again and the Tigers’ started their next drive at their own 3. They needed just three plays to cross midfield before Hunt’s 14-yard pass to Jake Hagan with 3:53 remaining wrapped up a 9-play, 97-yard drive and closed the Ohio Wesleyan lead to 27-22. The two-point conversion pass was incomplete.
DePauw’s defense forced a three-and-out and the Tigers’ offense started on its own 28 with 2:16 left. The Tigers advanced to their own 40, but two straight incomplete passes and a fourth-down sack gave the ball back to the hosts who ran out the clock.
The Tigers totaled 416 yards of offense to Ohio Wesleyan’s 287 and held a 175-70 edge on the ground.
Kirchhoff totaled 98 yards on 19 carries and Gruber added 52 in 13 tries. Matt Hunt completed 20-of-41 passes for 241 yards with two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice and sacked four times.
Hagan caught four of those passes for 58 yards, while Nolan Ayres, Andy Hunt and Kirchhoff each had three catches.
Dominick Orsini rushed for 59 yards and threw for 217 for Ohio Wesleyan. He completed 32-of-40 passes for 217 yards. Cheyne Lacanaria caught 13 passes for 88 yards, while Adrian Bishop snagged eight.
Will Longthorne led DePauw’s defense with 12 tackles, while Cody Baker followed with 10. Deion Centeno paced Ohio Wesleyan with 14 stops, while Zane Keiffer added 10. Gary Brodek recorded 2.5 sacks totaling 22 yards.
DePauw travels to Denison on Saturday, October 31, for the final road game of the regular season. Kickoff in Granville, Ohio, is slated for 2 p.m.