September 21, 2013

Little Giants Cruise to Second Consecutive Victory

More news about: Wabash

Wabash dominated for the second consecutive week, defeating Denison 50-13. However, the Little Giants suffered a major loss when Tyler Holmes tore his right ACL in the second quarter.

"Football is a great game, but it is physical and you always have guys go down," Coach Erik Raeburn said. "It's not a question of if guys are going to get injured, it's a question of who. We tell the backups all the time 'You're a play away from having to go in there and perform with the game on the line.' Hopefully those young guys will be ready to roll and pick up where Holmes left off."

Holmes earned first-team All-Conference honors last year leading the NCAC with 1,067 yards. He had 104-yards rushing and a touchdown before Saturday's injury.

Wabash started the scoring with special teams, just as it did in last week. The Big Red punt returner Colin Morris muffed a booming Cam Sobleski kick that Justin Woods eventually recovered for a touchdown.

Ian McDougall kicked a 27-yard field goal, then Holmes and Michael Putko rushed for touchdowns. The rout had begun, 23-0.
"We started off with a lot of mental errors and they came out with a few different looks we weren't expecting," Putko said. "But we made our adjustments and got everybody settled down. For example, their linebacker shot underneath a route we thought would be open."

Holmes' backup Mason Zurek '16 added a scoring dive for a 30-0 halftime lead.

One of the game's key sequences occurred early in the second quarter. A high snap sailed over Putko's head and pinned the Little Giants on their own 15, leading to a third-and-28. The safe play would have been to throw a short pass and punt, but Putko rifled the ball over the middle to Jon Laird for 25 yards. On the next play, Putko completed a short pass to Houston Hodges who turned up field and gained 17 on a fourth-and-three.

"We practiced it all week and I knew if I saw a certain (defensive) look, I was going to go [to Laird] with the ball," Putko said.

Putko had another efficient day in his second start. He completed 15-of-23 passes for 173 yards. He added 63-yards rushing on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

Houston Hodges led all receivers with seven catches for 78 yards. Sean Hildebrand had a quiet three catches, but effectively handled his down-field blocking duties.

Mason Zurek rushed for 66 on 14 carries and a touchdown in replacement. CP Porter and Anthony Stella combined to add an additional 66 yards and two touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, the defense lived up to coaches' and fan's expectations. The unit forced four turnovers—all fumbles—and held the Big Red to 1-of-11 on third down conversions.

"We wanted to send a statement to the rest of the teams around the conference," defensive end Tyler McCullen said. "We want them to see our scores and let them know we're for real this year."

McCullen recorded three tackles and teamed up with Cody Buresh for Wabash's only sack. Woods led the team with nine tackles and a forced fumble.

On special teams, the oft-overlooked Sobleski continued his stellar play. His first punt sent the returner running back to his goal line, leading to the muff. He averaged 44 yards-per-punt on seven tries and had three exceed 50 yards, including one from his end zone. The four punts less than 50 yards were all downed inside the opponent's 20.

"When everybody is blocking up front and you're getting good snaps, it makes my job a lot easier to be consistent," Sobleski said.

The two-time All-Conference punter isn't concerned he doesn't always receive the praise he may deserve.

"We all know special teams is important — it's one of our three keys to the game," Sobleski said.

Wabash travels to Allegheny next week. The Gators handed Wabash one of its two losses last year at Byron P. Hollet Little Giant Stadium — something the team has not forgot. "We're ready to go in and try to get our win back from last year," McCullen said.

Kickoff will be 1 p.m. Saturday in Meadville, PA.

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Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
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Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
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Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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