For the first time in almost eight years, the Monon Bell returned to Greencastle after a 37-34 win over Wabash College.
Led by senior quarterback Matt Hunt’s fantastic performance, the Tigers were victorious in a rivalry that has been dominated by the Little Giants over the last decade.
DePauw began the contest strong, scoring the first 14 points in the game. At 11:32 in the first quarter, Matt Hunt lost the handle on a snap, only to recover his fumble and take it into the endzone. The two-yard run allowed DePauw to draw first blood and go up 7-0. After a solid 10 play, 72 yard drive the Tigers scored yet again with a Hunt pass to senior wide receiver Ian Good. Good was sandwiched by two Wabash players in the secondary, but was able to hold on to the catch and put the Tigers up 14-0.
Wabash was able to get into an offensive rhythm during the second quarter and sustained an impressive nine-play drive that ended in Wabash kicker Andrew Tutsie hitting a 45-yard field goal to tie the record for all-time career field goals. The kick was also the longest of Tutsie’s career.
DePauw senior kicker Marko Adams answered with a field goal of his own. A 28-yard attempt that pushed the Tigers lead back to 14 points.
Wabash running back Matt Penola was able to find his stride later in the game and scored the next two touchdowns of the contest. The first, a one-yard run capping off an eight-play, 57-yard drive. The second, another one-yard run midway through the third quarter to tie the ballgame at 17.
While the DePauw offense seemed to be losing momentum after multiple unsuccessful drives, Matt Hunt had a 51-yard rushing touchdown up the middle of the field after breaking a tackle and hitting a gaping hole in the middle. After running past the linebackers, it was a footrace between the secondary and Hunt. He put the Tigers up 24-17.
The Little Giants’ senior quarterback Connor Rice was able to answer back in the closing minutes of the third. Rice, who was 25-35 for 325 yards and two touchdowns, completed a pass to sophomore wide receiver Oliver Page for 28 yards and the touchdown to tie the game again at 24.
After unsuccessful drives from both teams, the Little Giants’ Andrew Tutsie kicked a 39-yard field goal and put Wabash up 3 points. They led 24-27 and that field goal solidified Tutsie as the most prolific kicker in the history of Wabash’s program.
Hunt was able to lead the Tigers down the field and had a similar breakout run, taking the ball 51 yards to the end zone and putting DePauw up 30-27 following an unsuccessful extra point attempt from Adams.
On the next drive Rice’s offensive line was able to hold off pressure from DePauw’s defensive line and had 11, 27, and 12 yard pass completions before throwing a 20-yard fade to Page to put the Little Giants up 30-33 with only 2:06 left in the game.
Following a sack, Hunt completed a pass to junior wide receiver Ben Wilson for 18 yards to the DePauw 38-yard line. Then Hunt passed to Good for 26 yards, pushing the Tigers into Wabash territory. Again, Hunt went to Good for 20 yards to put the Tigers on Wabash’s doorstep at the 13-yard line.
After driving down the field in a matter of three plays, Hunt passed right to his brother, sophomore wide receiver Andy Hunt, to put the Tigers ahead 37-34 and giving the ball back to Wabash with 32 seconds remaining in the game. Wabash was unable to answer in the time left and DePauw brought home the bell for the first time this decade.
“To share the end of his playing career with that play- I never thought it would be like that in a million years and it was really special to share,” Andy Hunt said.
“I mean we practice that every Thursday,” Matt Hunt said. “So we just went through the motions of practice and we were confident we could make it happen.”
Matt Hunt finished the game 19-35 with a 241 passing, 185 yards rushing, two passing touchdowns, and three rushing. Among other top-performers was Good with nine receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown, as well as senior linebacker Thomas Gray, who was the leader of the defense with 10 tackles.
DePauw finishes their season 8-2 and brings the bell back to DePauw students who have not rang it in a very long time.