Turnovers, Inability to Finish Haunts Britons
GREENCASTLE, Ind. - Albion College gained three times as many yards as DePauw University, but three turnovers proved costly in a 7-3 setback in a non-league contest played at Blackstock Stadium.
Head Coach Craig Rundle said the result was caused by the Britons' inability to make big plays.
"The same thing that won the game for us last week – creating turnovers and finishing drives – hurt us today," Rundle said. "We didn't play as well as we had been playing in any area – offense, defense or special teams. It was poor execution more than anything."
Alex Harris completed three consecutive passes as Albion moved into DePauw territory on its second possession of the day. Wes Dolen's 5-yard carry gave the Britons a fresh set of downs at the DePauw 31, and the Britons moved inside the 25 on Harris' 7-yard connection with J.C. Cruse.
Dolen was stuffed on second- and third-down plays, so Albion elected to play on fourth down. Dolen had enough yards for the first down at the DePauw 20, but his fumble stopped the Albion drive after nine plays.
DePauw was unable to move the ball against the Albion defense for the first 23 minutes of the contest. Albion forced DePauw to go three-and-out on two of its first four possessions, and the Tigers never moved the ball into Albion territory.
DePauw caught a break, however, when Harris' second-down pass was intercepted by Mafileo Tupou and returned 25 yards to the Albion 11. Bryan Coleman covered the distance on the short field, including a 7-yard rush with 5:50 left in the second quarter. That would be the game's only touchdown.
Harris was intercepted on Albion's next possession, but DePauw was unable to take advantage as a 29-yard field goal attempt clanked off the upright.
Albion's special teams faltered in the third quarter as it had a punt blocked on its first possession and a missed field goal from 30 yards out caused it to go away empty on an 11-play drive that saw the Britons march to the DePauw 12.
Albion had excellent field position – taking over at the DePauw 44 – for its third possession of the third quarter, but an offensive pass interference penalty wiped out what would have been a 13-yard reception to the DePauw 32. Harris was sacked on third down and the Britons were forced to punt.
Harris completed four passes of 11 yards or more on Albion's first possession of the fourth quarter. Dolen's 5-yard gain on first-and-10 gave set the Britons up at the DePauw 17. Harris' second-down pass was incomplete and he was sacked on third down to set the stage for Nick Pendell's 38-yard field goal with 9 ½ minutes left in the game.
The Albion defense allowed DePauw just one first down on its next two possessions to give the offense opportunities to score. The Britons moved into DePauw territory, but the Britons were unable to get closer than the Tigers' 31-yard line.
Harris completed 26 passes for 286 yards – the most since Spencer Krauss threw for 434 in the Oct. 1 victory over Kalamazoo College. Harris connected with Brian Spencer nine times for 101 yards and with Cruse eight times for 102 yards.
Dolen contributed 102 rushing yards. It was the first time he has gained more than 100 yards in a game since gashing Alma College for 124 during the 2009 campaign.
The Albion defense surrendered 126 total yards and eight first downs. C.J. Carroll, who entered the game among the top 70 Division III players in tackles for loss, wrapped up three stops for a loss of 11 yards. He also collected a 7-yard sack. John Lesinski and Brett McCarty finished with four solo tackles apiece.
Albion (5-4 overall) will complete the regular season Nov. 12 with its Albion Spirit Day clash against Trine University. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.