Even though they’ve already played more than a quarter of their schedule, the Tigers have yet to compete in a close game.
For that, thank the balanced offensive attack and the ability of the defense to put a stop to any challenge from their opponents.
“I’ve really liked the consistency we’ve played with over the first four weeks,” DePauw head coach Bill Lynch said.
It was more of the same for the Tigers on Saturday on the road at Kenyon College. The Tigers rolled to an easy 38-16 win over the Lords that included a run of 31 straight points.
"It was a good solid performance against what I think is a pretty good football team,” Lynch said.
For the first time this season, however, the Tigers didn’t get off to a hot start.
The Lords forced DePauw into a three-and-out on their first possession, the first time that fate has befallen the Tigers this season. Once they took the momentum, Kenyon marched down the field on a 17-play, 48-yard drive that was capped off with a 24-yard field goal.
That lead didn’t last very long.
The Tigers went on a run that included scores on six straight possessions. Junior quarterback Matt Hunt got DePauw on the board late in the first quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run. Hunt then hit sophomore Chase Stadler for a 12-yard touchdown pass on DePauw’s next drive. Then, after a field goal by junior Marko Adams, senior running back Amen Galley scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives to cap off the run for the Tigers and blow the game wide open.
The Lords found the endzone once again at the beginning of the third quarter on a 79-yard touchdown pass, but the Tigers replied with a five-yard touchdown run from junior Jason Kirchhoff immediately after.
The Lords found the endzone for the last time early in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Jake Bates completed a 10-yard touchdown.
Hunt was very efficient for the Tigers under center, completing 18 of 23 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. The performance continues what has been an impressive junior season for Hunt. He’s completed over 70 percent of his passes and has thrown 11 touchdowns to only one interception.
On the ground, junior Jason Kirchhoff led the way for the Tigers once again. His 22 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown marked the third time in four games that Kirchhoff has rushed for over 100 yards. Hunt also contributed in the running game, with 13 carries for 76 yards and a score. Senior Amen Galley got in on things as well with two touchdowns of his own.
“Up front with the line we were experiencing a lot of good push, and were able to dominate the defensive line,” senior center Taylor Shellman said.
This marks the fourth straight game in which the Tigers have put up over 200 yards on the ground.
“This is something the senior class has not experienced,” Shellman said. “This year is going to be special, we have been dominating our opponents, and I am looking forward to see what we accomplish this season.”
The spreading of wealth that has been consistent for the Tigers through the air so far this season continued again on Saturday. Hunt completed passes to nine different receivers, with no one having more than four catches on the day.
The win sets the stage for what will be DePauw's toughest test so far, when they host Wittenberg University next weekend. The 3-1 Wittenberg Tigers will come into Saturday’s matchup with just the one loss coming on the road at eighth-ranked Wabash College.
“It's a big game for us and something we are looking forward to,” Hunt said. “We have a lot of confidence going in and have prepared well for our first four games...I think we will continue the same attitude this week.”
Coach Lynch agreed on the magnitude of Saturday’s matchup.
“If you’re going to be a college football player or a college football coach, you like big games and you want to put yourself in a position where you’re playing a big game and that’s what this is,” Lynch said. “It’s a big game in our conference and it’s a big for us. If you’re going to take that next step and be able to compete for a championship, you’ve got to beat Wittenberg.”