Nov. 20, 2010

Courtesy of DePauw Athletics

Greencastle, Ind. —
DePauw rallied from a 20-point deficit in the opening quarter to take a third-quarter lead, but visiting and eighth-ranked Trine scored the final 10 and claimed a 45-35 win in the NCAA Division III Football Championship First Round.

Trine improved to 11-0 on the season and faces Wisconsin-Whitewater, a 52-21 winner over Franklin, in next Saturday's second round contest. DePauw wrapped up its season at 9-2.

In the first postseason game played at Blackstock Stadium, DePauw wasted little time in getting on the board as Derrick Karazsia scored on a 2-yard run which capped a 5-play, 85-yard drive and put DePauw ahead, 7-0, with 12:24 left in the first.

Trine would go on to score on its first four series of the game starting with quarterback Eric Watt's 10-yard run which knotted the score at 7-7. Thomas Wyman caught a 2-yard pass from Watt with 6:09 left in the first which gave the Thunder a 14-7 lead.

That lead went to 20-7 after Louis Danesi sacked DePauw's Michael Engle and Christian Verley scooped up the loose ball and ran 38 yards for the score. On the Tigers' next series, Engle was intercepted by Ben Mohr and, on the next play, Watt teamed with Ja Vontae Hence for a 60-yard score to make it 27-7 with 2:03 remaining in the first.

DePauw's defense stopped Trine for the first time early in the second and the offense marched 71 yards in 10 plays with Engle tossing a 3-yard pass to Taylor Wagner with 8:34 left in the half which closed the gap to 27-14.

The Tigers' defense opened the second half with a three-and-out and the offense again went to work with an 11-play, 61-yard series culminating in Engle's 16-yard scoring pass to Brayden Dahlstrom. That closed the Trine lead to 27-21 with 8:03 remaining in the third.

On the ensuing kickoff Ben Brandstatter forced Trine kick returner Aaron Selking to fumble and Jake Konovsky recovered (pictured right) at the Thunder 32. It took DePauw just seven plays to even the score as Engle scrambled for a 1-yard score. Eric Malm's point-after gave DePauw a 28-27 lead with 5:08 remaining in the third.

The teams then exchanged punts before Trine regained the lead at 35-28 on Watt's 59-yard scoring pass to Hence on a third-and-10 play and Watt's two-point conversion run.

DePauw answered in just four plays as Engle fired a ball over the middle which a diving Alex Koors (below) caught in the end zone. That score was the 42nd of his collegiate career and broke both the DePauw and Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference touchdown reception record.

On Trine's next series, DePauw's defense forced the Thunder into a third-and-nine, but Watt converted with a 34-yard pass to Jeff Langley. Watt found Cody Nash-Kniffen for another 34-yard play before George Outlaw scored on a 2-yard run to make it 42-35 with 11:33 remaining.

The Tigers drove to the Trine 38, but Engle tossed two straight incomplete passes before Andrew Pickford's interception and return on fourth down gave the Thunder the ball at the Trine 46.

The Thunder converted two third downs on the next possession and eventually drove to the DePauw 6 before Jeremy Howard booted a 24-yard field goal with 3:41 left to make it 45-35.

Following Taylor Wagner's 49-yard kickoff return to the Trine 49, Engle completed passes to Koors and Nathan Evans to the Trine 26, but Brandon Killingbeck's interception at the Trine 20 ended the comeback effort.

DePauw held a 437-419 advantage in total offense, but the Thunder averaged 6.9 yards per play to DePauw's 5.4. Engle completed 29-of-49 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted three times. Koors hauled in 10 for 175 yards with Dahlstrom catching nine for 124.

Watt completed 20-of-30 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Hence caught eight of those passes for 169 yards and two scores.

Jonathan Lambert and Konovsky each had seven tackles for DePauw with Tyler Doane and James Foglton each recording sacks and Ryan Pruess finishing with 2.0 tackles for loss. Jacob Vance led Trine with seven tackles and Selking totaled six. The Thunder recorded three sacks against a team which allowed just seven in the first 10 games.

I think the fans got their moneys worth, Trine head coach Matt Land said. "What a great game - two teams representing the NCAA. It was a great day for college football today.”

"We just couldnt put two quarters together there at the end of the game," DePauw head coach Robby Long said. "Im proud of the way our kids came out at halftime and played DePauw football.”