November 16, 2013

Wabash Captures Fifth Straight Monon Bell Classic

More news about: Wabash

There is no better tonic for a disappointing loss than a win in the Monon Bell Classic. The Little Giants lost an automatic NCAA playoff berth last week but Saturday claimed that old railroad Bell for the fifth straight year with a 38-21 win.

Now the team and coaches will wait until Sunday night to see if the NCAA playoff selection committee invites the 9-1 Little Giants to DIII's big dance.

"Obviously, this game is critical," said Coach Erik Raeburn "All losses are devastating but a loss in the Bell game is 10 times worse. I'm happy for our players, our students and our fans. This is important to everybody, particularly for our seniors to be able to say they graduated with a 4-0 record. Students can say they got to celebrate four victories in the Bell game and that is an important thing."

It was an essential thing if the Little Giants are to hear the NCAA call their name Sunday. "Obviously, I feel like we're worthy and should get in but any time you don't win your conference your fate is in the hands of some committee. But I feel like we've played really well all season. We have a good football team. I think we're worthy of a playoff berth."

View photos from the Little Giants' Monon Bell here, here, here, here, and here.

The Little Giants returned to recognizable form from the game's first snap. DePauw couldn't gain a yard in three attempts and had to punt the ball away. Wabash rolled out a little razzle-dazzle with quarterback Michael Putko handing the ball off to receiver Drake Christen who then tossed the ball to Sean Hildebrand running the opposite direction. The senior wide receiver waltzed into the end zone thanks to a nifty quarterback block, 7-0.

But the Little Giants were far from done in the first quarter. On their next possession Jon Laird beat the Tiger secondary deep and was hit on a wide-open 64-yard scoring pass. Hildebrand did it again with a 26-yard catch just before the first period ended.

The dominant defense and quick strike offense gave Wabash complete control from the start.

"They were playing extremely aggressive and were jumping on the shorter routes," Quarterback Putko said. "We were able to throw behind them. (On the Laird score) I bought myself a little more time, the safety came up and Jon just snuck right in behind him."

Raeburn was really pleased with his sophomore quarterback's play. "Getting the passing game going in that first half was critical," Raeburn, now 5-1 in Bell contests, said. "We expected them to try to get as many guys in the box to stop the run as possible. But when you do that there is a lot of field for those guys in the box to cover. We were able to get some guys loose a couple of times and get receivers behind them. Michael did a great job finding them today. I thought he played his best game today."

Putko was 21-of-29 for three touchdowns and 296 yards. The primary recipient was Hildebrand with 10 big Bell catches for 125 yards.

"Last week was a big disappointment and it kind of channeled over to practice," Putko said. "But all week long we tried to focus on the next game. That was our motto all season.  We're lucky to have such a huge game after last week to redeem ourselves. It's extremely important to me. My goal here is to go 3-0 as a starter and win the Bell. It's carrying on the tradition. I don't want to be the one to let it go."

The first quarter set the pace then the Little Giants piled on to start the second. James Kraus caught a 13-yard Putko pass and the fans were rocking with Wabash up 28-0. DePauw got its first score of the game midway through the second period on a Matt Hunt to Barry Flynn connection for four yards.

But the Little Giants responded before halftime with a 1-yard Grant Klembara plunge, 35-1.

The tempo slowed in the second half. J.D. Robinson caught 6- and 38-yard Hunt passes for scores, wrapped around an Ian MacDougall 43-yard field goal.

Wabash notched 27 first downs to the Tigers' 11. The Little Giants had 170 yards rushing to DePauw's 58. Putko's 296 passing yards nearly doubled Hunt's 172. Wabash had 466 yards of total offense to DePauw's 230.

"I think we shot ourselves in the foot a lot last week," said offensive lineman Nathan Brock. "In this first half we came out and did what we usually do. In the second half, it wasn't always pretty but we got the Bell for 365 days baby."

Cody Buresh had another big day in an opponent's backfield. He recorded seven tackles, a sack, and four tackles for loss. Eddie Cmehil and Nate Scola had six stops each. A.J. Akinribade added five stops

"We wanted to go out and redeem ourselves for what happened last week," Akinribade said. "We came out here and let all our frustrations out. We moved on during the week and focused all our attention on DePauw because this is bigger than a football game."

Wabash will await word Sunday at 6 p.m.as to whether the Little Giants will earn one of 32 spots in the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs. The video broadcast presenting the 32-team field can be viewed here.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Kean at Christopher Newport
TBA
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
TBA
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
TBA
Marietta at Denison
TBA
McDaniel at Catholic
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
Sewanee at Kenyon
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos