It would be foolish to say this wasn’t coming.
In their first game of the season, the DePauw Tigers shut out the Earlham Quakers by a score of 53-0, moving them to 1-0 on the young season. It was the most points the program had ever scored in a season opener since 2009, when the Tigers defeated Anderson, 55-7.
Offensively, DePauw’s offense was led by junior running backs Jason Kirchhoff (131 yards) and sophomore Jack Gruber (48 yards), who both scored twice for the Tigers. Senior wide receiver Connor Jeffers added a touchdown, while junior quarterback Matt Hunt was solid, throwing for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
“We executed, and I thought the offensive line did a really good job both run blocking and pass blocking and communicating up front,” said Hunt. “They have done a great job up until this point, and it was great to see them do it against an opponent.”
Like the offense, DePauw’s defense was in control from the start. In the first quarter, the defense forced a safety, putting the Tigers up 9-0 for an early lead. By the end of the game, Earlham quarterback Treylon Anderson had thrown for only 80 yards, while running backs had combined for -47 yards on the ground.
“Coming into these games, it’s very easy to overlook a team like Earlham… it’s easy to not come out 100 percent and fully loaded,” said senior defensive back Adam Folta. “But I felt like as a defense, everyone was really sound. As with every game, there’re going to be some minor adjustments you have to make.”
After being blown out by Olivet College 74-13 last Saturday, Earlham didn’t see much improvement in this matchup. If the Quakers don’t turn things around quickly, it’ll be another long season for a program that’s gone 3-26 the past three years.
But it’s a different story for the Tigers, who will ride the momentum set by their strong rushing game and defense into next week’s matchup against Wooster, a team DePauw easily handled last year with their strong offense, defeating the Fighting Scots 42-13.
Despite their past meeting, Wooster will still provide a challenge for the Tigers.
“We’re playing a completely different opponent,” noted head coach Bill Lynch. “[They’re a team] in our conference who know us and our tendencies.”
“This week of practice in general is a big week for us," Hunt said. "It’s the second week of being in the in-season routine, and we need to bring the same energy we have had all of camp."
The game will be at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday at Blackstock Stadium.