Six years in a row. The Wabash College Little Giants have won the last six Monon Bell games by an average margin of victory of 27 points. As Wabash students, that fact makes us gleam. Wabash has been at or near the top of the NCAC conference for the past decade. DePauw has been uncharacteristically down as a football program, but with Coach Lynch at the helm, the Tigers seem to be getting back into their stride. Their 8-1 record boasts second in the NCAC, only trailing the undefeated Little Giants. The stage is set for what looks on paper to be a competitive matchup.
Let’s not forget last year’s “much improved” DePauw team, who also walked into Crawfordsville with only one less loss than the Little Giants. They were gaining on us, right? Not exactly; a 24-point victory didn’t do the lopsided game justice. In fact, the only thing that was more embarrassing for the Tigers than their rumbling-bumbling-stumbling-faceplanting tight end (we haven’t forgotten) was the fact that half the DePauw students that came to tailgate didn’t bother showing up to support their team. Complacency does not bode well in one of the nation’s most historical college football rivalries.
Not to get away from the current year, in which both offenses have had incredible success. Both teams top the conference in most categories. They both average over 40 points a game, average over 450 yards a game, and do both of these with incredible balance between the rushing and passing game. The offenses are identical in many ways, and both will be expected to produce on Saturday.
The two defenses also top the conference in just about every conference category. The difference is that Wabash’s defense has been utterly stifling in their 2015 campaign. The Little Giants have only given up an average 6.6 points per game (DePauw 14.3), 189.4 yards per game (DePauw 295.3), and have scored five defensive touchdowns (DePauw has scored one).
However, don’t let the numbers dictate your opinion. The historic Monon Bell rivalry is just as much about the intangibles as it is about the X’s and O’s. It’s about mentality. Frankly, it’s hard to blame DePauw football for taking tough losses in the past six contests. When surrounded by students who are indifferent about a win or a loss, it has to be hard to find motivation.
Just a couple months ago, the DePauw President had to give praise to Little Giants fans for their devotion to Wabash sports. A month later, his employees were having to move the one-ninth of the Wabash student body that made its way down to the Wabash and DePauw soccer game out of the stands to its own special area. Little Giants fans doubled DePauw fans in their own backyard. The Little Giants were bested on the pitch; they won’t be bested on the football field.
What the gargantuan number of Little Giant fans that will make the trip down to Greencastle want is their best efforts reciprocated. The spirit of the Monon Bell game is what makes it great. The 2014 contest consisted of stands deprived of black and gold, and a sixth straight stomping of the Dannies. The 2015 campaign from the Little Giants will consist of thousands of devoted Wabash fans on the field and in the stands. It’s all we know. For DePauw fans, please bring it. Your best won’t be enough, but Little Giant nation wants to see it.
The Bell isn’t going anywhere. Little Giants ring on.