Tigers Drop Back-and-Forth Battle to Fighting Scots

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DePauw jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead, but visiting Wooster scored on three of its first four second half possessions and held on for a 27-24 North Coast Athletic Conference win over the Tigers on Nick Mourouzis Field at Blackstock Stadium.

DePauw's three-game win streak came to an end as the Tigers slipped to 3-5 overall and 3-4 in the NCAC, while Wooster improved to 5-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove 41 yards in 12 plays with Eric Malm booting a 40-yard field goal for a 3-0 DePauw lead.

Before the Tigers' offense even had a chance to rest, Wooster quarterback Richard Barnes fumbled on the Fighting Scots' first offensive play and DePauw's Dennis Callicutt recovered at midfield. Nine plays later Matt Hunt tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Barry Flynn to make it 10-0 with 6:58 left in the first.

Early in the second, Wooster's Tyler Gerwig missed a 31-yard field goal attempt as his kick sailed lleft of the uprights. Later in the half, DePauw was backed up to its own 13 after back-to-back penalties totaling 25 yards and a short punt gave the Scots the ball on the DePauw 41.

Sean Hackel carried a couple of times for eight yards before Barnes rattled off a 31-yard run to the DePauw 2. Hackel reached paydirt on a 2-yard run, but Gerwig's point-after was off the mark and DePauw still led, 10-6, with 2:05 left.

Connor Jeffers returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards and the Tigers quickly advanced into Wooster territory on Hunt's 15-yard pass to Nikko Sansone. A Wooster personal foul penalty gave DePauw the ball at the Wooster 33. DePauw picked up a first down on runs by Hunt and Sansone, but Hunt was sacked for a 13-yard loss by Matt Osolinski. Hunt gained back that yardage on the next play with a 22-yard scamper, but then fumbled on third-and-one at the Wooster 13 with Ian Crawford recovering for the Scots with 21 seconds left in the half.

Wooster quickly marched down the field to start the second half, but DePauw's defense stopped them on fourth-and-1 from the Tigers' 6. DePauw was unable to pick up a first down and was forced to punt. Brandon James' 11-yard return gave Wooster the ball at its own 49. Barnes was sacked for a 7-yard loss by Michael Mitsch on first down, but then completed five straight passes to drive the Fighting Scots to the DePauw 8. Barnes called his own number for an 8-yard touchdown run that gave Wooster its first lead at 13-10.

DePauw wasted little time in answering as Hunt completed three straight passes including a 9-yard scoring strike to Flynn that capped a four-play drive and made it 17-13 Tigers with 6:33 remaining in the third.

Wooster converted a fourth down on its next series, but Peter Nelson's 10-yard sack on third-and-5 forced the guests into a punting situation. A short punt on the Tigers' next series gave the Scots the ball at the DePauw 46. On the first play, Wooster's Keir Pace took a lateral pass from Barnes and tossed it into the arms of Darrian Owens for a touchdown to give Wooster a 20-17 advantage with 1:29 left in the third.

DePauw started its next series on its own 30 and Hunt began with a 5-yard pass to Kevin Ude before Amen Galley broke off a 29-yard run. Hunt then connected with Flynn for a 36-ysard score that gave DePauw a 24-20 advantage with just nine seconds left in the third. The score was Flynn's third TD reception of the game, tying a DePauw single-game record.

The Fighting Scots' eventual game-winning drive started on their own 32. Wooster advanced into DePauw territory, but a holding penalty and fumbled snap put them into a third-and-21 situation. Barnes teamed with Pace for an 18-yard gain on third down and then Barnes connected with Jake Vellucci for eight yards and a first down on the fourth-down play. Barnes went right back to Vellucci for a 19-yard strike on the next play to make it 27-24 with 11:27 left.

DePauw had two more chances as it drove to the Wooster 32, but Hunt was sacked by Brandon Taylor for a 22-yard loss on fourth down and then intercepted by Vinnie Congedo on the next drive. On the play prior to interception, Hunt appeared to have found Flynn for a long game near the Wooster 30, but Flynn was ruled to have stepped out of bounds and then back in before making the catch.

Wooster outgained the Tigers 440-402 as the Fighting Scots rushed for 208 and threw for 232. Hackel and Barnes each totaled 105 rushing yards, while Barnes threw for 186 more. Hackel also caught five passes for 40 yards.

Sansone rushed for 60 yards on 18 carries, but saw limited action in the second half. The Tigers totaled 101 rushing yards for the game. Hunt completed 20 of 35 for 301 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Flynn was the top receiver with eight catches for 130 yards.

Mitch Dwenger paced DePauw with 11 total tackles followed by Callicutt and Nick Freund with nine each. Nelson and Mitsch each had a sack as the Tigers totaled 6.0 tackles for losses of 24 yards.

John Battaglia recorded 13 stops for Wooster with James finishing with nine. Wooster sacked Hunt five times for 54 yards.

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