Langston Hood, Senior Sports Writer
The Wooster Fighting Scots football team traveled to Greencastle, Indiana to take on the DePauw Tigers on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff. Wooster had their hands full as the Tigers had been utterly dominant throughout the early stages of the season. Prior to last Saturday’s game, DePauw dismantled its first three opponents by a combined score of 116-14. Additionally, the Tigers’ defense has been nothing short of fantastic, shutting out Anderson and Hiram in their last two games. With that being said, Wooster would hang in the game before succumbing to the now nationally-ranked Tigers.
The Scots did little to help themselves on their first drive, as a quick three-and-out gave DePauw the ball on their own 40-yard line. DePauw would waste no time as a quick three minute drive, sprinkled with chunk plays, saw them take an early 7-0 lead with a balanced attack of run and pass plays. This would be a common theme which would spell trouble for Wooster all night long. Wooster was eager to respond, and to their credit, they put together a strong drive into the DePauw red zone. The drive was spurred by a Mateo Renteria ’23 scramble that gashed the defense for 43 yards. Renteria would be the catalyst again, finding Cole Hissong ’22 and Troy Baughman ’23 for big gains to put Wooster in striking position. However, a pair of mishaps brought the drive to a sputtering halt, as the Tiger defense logged its first takeaway of the afternoon.
Although turnovers and empty red zone trips are a proven recipe for football catastrophe, the one upside is the starting position for the defense. Wooster had the upper hand with the Tigers beginning their drive at their own two-yard line. DePauw was able to produce two first downs, before a pass breakup from Louie Lindsay ’26 who brought the drive to a stop. The Scots failed to capitalize on the following drive, but the defense managed to hold the Tigers to a field goal on the ensuing drive. Wooster would make some headway through the legs of Andrew Yassens ’23, who broke a 36-yard run through the middle of the Tiger defense to give the Scots a spark, but DePauw would smother this spark and Wooster would fail to convert on a fourth down on the brink of the DePauw redzone.
DePauw put together a solid drive that resulted in another score, as the Tiger’s rushing attack continued to gain steam with another rushing touchdown that capped off a balanced drive. Wooster was unable to muster up any real offense on the next drive, with a 15-yard completion to Baughman from Jacob Dugas ’25 being one of the few signs of hope on an otherwise uneventful drive. Wooster pinned the Tigers deep with a Dugas punt, but what happened next would prove to be a true showing of DePauw’s might. Despite the defensive effort of Alex White ’24 and the defensive back duo of Matt Ulishney ’23 and Langston Williams ’23, DePauw put together a back-breaking nine play, 91-yard drive capped off by a short passing touchdown. The DePauw aerial attack was on full display, as a deep throw moved the ball 37-yards into Wooster territory. With just 10 seconds left in the first half, DePauw scored again to take a 24-point advantage into half.
DePauw would emerge from halftime reinvigorated, as they stepped on the gas and did not look back. The Tigers scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives with the end of the game and a handful of kneel downs from the quarterback bringing their sixth and final possession to a close. Wooster would not benefit from the same fortune, as the Scots were unable to move the ball against the unbreakable and relentless DePauw defense. DePauw was nearly flawless in every facet of the game, racking up 326 passing yards and 314 rushing yards, while converting their third downs at an astounding rate of 88% (14 of 16). Also worth noting is the stranglehold that DePauw had on the clock, maintaining possession for 43 minutes to the Scots 16, resulting in tired legs on defense. The Tigers would prove the superior side on the day, beating the Scots 59-0.
If there is one thing the Fighting Scots can hang their hats on, it is the stellar play of the punting unit. Matt Pardi ’23 has legged himself to the peak of D-III punting averaging a staggering 47.35 yards per punt, ranking him first among all of Division III punters. Pardi ended the night with two consecutive punts of 61-yards, as the whole unit contributed to his success.
The Fighting Scots look to redeem themselves against the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1:00 p.m. at Papp Stadium!