The Tigers (2-0) began their NCAC conference play with a 55-28 win at Hiram College. Led by junior quarterback Matt Labus, the offense tallied up 576 total yards along with 34 first-half points.
“Anytime you go on the road, you want to get off to a good start. We had a really good second quarter where we were able to score some points,” Head Coach Bill Lynch said.
In the final six minutes of the second quarter, the Tigers scored three touchdowns, with two of them coming through the air. Labus connected with senior receiver Jake Hagan from 16 yards out to cap off the first half.
“Our key was playing within ourselves and executing the plays we have been running since day one. The offensive line blocked well all day, while the receivers and backs made plays when we needed it most,” Labus said.
Labus completed 20-30 passes for 377 yards and five touchdowns. He also added seven rushes for 51 yards and a touchdown. His 428 yards of total offense is the second-most by an individual player in DePauw history.
“He has played really well. He played great in the opener against Mount St. Joseph, and improved in not only running, but throwing the ball against Hiram,” Lynch said.
Junior slot receiver Andy Hunt served as Labus’s top target by catching six passes for 173 yards and two scores.
The offense converted on 10 of 13 third down opportunities, with an average gain of 7.3 yards per play.
“Having a clean pocket to throw in all day contributed to the high third down conversion rate. The offensive line was sharp all day,” Labus said.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebackers Brody Gude and Matt Crupi recorded seven tackles each, holding Hiram to only 27 rushing yards.
“What is really helping us out is our run defense. We are so strong up front that we are forcing opponents to beat us through the air,” Crupi said.
Hiram’s Randy Tucker threw for 366 yards, but it was ultimately not enough to overcome the might of the Tigers’ defense.
“As a whole we need to improve on our pass defense. Wooster's offense this week has an experienced quarterback and receiving core that we haven't yet seen so far,” Crupi said.
The Tigers look to do just that in their home opener against the Fighting Scots (3-0) this Saturday in Blackstock Stadium at 1:00 p.m.