Sept. 16 – HIRAM, Ohio – Despite another 366 yards passing from junior quarterback Randy Tucker, the Hiram College football team dropped their North Coast Athletic Conference opener, 55-28, to visiting DePauw on Saturday afternoon.
The signal callers for both teams had great days throwing the football as the teams combined for 968 total yards of offense and 83 points.
Tucker once again played solidly, completing 25-of-39 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. However, DePauw's Matt Labus may have stolen the show, connecting for five touchdowns while throwing for 377 yards.
Both offenses were able to move up and down the field with relative ease throughout the entirety of the contest. The difference, however, could be found in two stats.
The big play came into effect for the Tigers early in the game, as DePauw managed five touchdown plays of 20 yards or longer. DePauw posted 20-yard and 23-yard touchdown runs, as well as TD passes from 30, 48, and 80 yards out.
Hiram, meanwhile, connected on one big touchdown play through the course of the game. Trailing 14-0 in the first, Tucker found freshman Torin Mayhew on a 48-yard wheel route to cut the game to 14-7. The TD catch marked the first of Mayhew's career.
The other difference in the outcome came on third downs. The Terriers managed to convert 41% of their third-down plays (7-of-17), but allowed DePauw to earn conversions on 10-of-13 of their third-down attampts.
The momentum swing in the ball game came between the second and third quarters as DePauw scored 34-unaswered points, including four-straight touchdown passes by Lubus.
Hiram began to pick up their offensive intensity in the late stages of the third and into the fourth quarter, outscoring DePauw 21-7. Junior Isaiah Jones found the end zone from five yards out for his second TD of the season with 44 seconds to play in the third.
In the fourth quarter, freshman DJ Franklin caught a pair of touchdown passes. The first came at the 10:34 mark on a five-yard curl route, while the second came in the front corner of the end zone on a seven-yard pass from Tucker with 1:42 remaining in the contest. Franklin finished the day with five catches for 53 yards and two scores.
Tucker finished the day with over 350 yards passing for the second-consecutive game, finding 10 different receivers. The junior has now thrown nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions through two games of the season.
Along with Franklin, Mayhew totaled the best game of his young career, breaking the 100-yard mark for the first time. He finished with four catches for 124 yards and a TD. Senior CJ Maner added four catches for 85 yards, while both Danny Robinson and Jaris Foreman caught three passes.
Defensively, the Terriers put together a couple of big plays, including an interception by Isaiah Aubike and a strip sack from sophomore Horace Johnson. The interception by Azubike was his first-career pick as a Terrier.
Freshman Sirahn Fields led Hiram with 10 total tackles, reaching double digits for the first time in his career. Eduardo Gonzales tallied nine stops, while Johnson posted seven and 1.5 tackles for loss. The Terriers were unable to get to the Tiger QBs throughout the day, not registering a sack in the contest.
On special teams, freshman Moe Yarbrough was impressive, coming just nine yards shy of the Terrier single game return yardage mark. He finished with 162 yards, averaging 27.0 yards per attempt.
Hiram will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 23 as they travel to Crawfordsville, Ind. to square off with the Little Giants of Wabash. The Terriers first road test of the season is scheduled for a 2:00 PM start.