Wabash ran for 468 yards and six touchdowns in its 47-14 win at Kenyon Saturday afternoon.
Little Giant senior running back Austin Hoover carried the football 19 times for a career-best 255 for an average of 13.4 yards per carry. He posted one run of 44 yards and two runs of 40 yards. Junior Isaac Avant added another 160 rushing yards to the Wabash (3-0, 2-0 NCAC) total on only nine carries. He blasted through the Kenyon (0-3, 0-2 NCAC) defense, then raced down the sidelines for a 98-yard touchdown run in the second period to put the Little Giants in front 20-0. Avant's 98-yard run is the longest in modern Wabash football history, trailing only a 105-yard run by Ken Wood in 1929 using old field measurements at the time.
The 9.8 yards-per-rush average (48 attempts, 468 yards) is the highest in Wabash history while the 468 net rushing yards ranks third in school history. Hoover's four rushing touchdowns tie for the third-most in a single game for a Little Giant player. Five rushing touchdowns as a team tied for fifth on the Wabash single-game record list.
Wabash jumped in front early after Artie Equihua intercepted Kenyon's Thomas Merkle on the opening series of the game. Six plays later Jake Reid hit Ra'Shawn Jones with a 19-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead for the Little Giants. Hoover added the first of his four touchdowns at the end of the first quarter, capping a five-play, 62-yard drive with a four-yard run and a 14-o lead.
Midway through the second quarter Kenyon appeared to grab momentum by pinning Wabash at its own two-yard line with a well-placed punt. Avant took the football on first play from scrimmage and raced down the right sideline for the 98-yard TD run and a 20-0 advantage for the Little Giants.
Hoover added another touchdown on a 37-yard run to close out the first half with a 27-0 lead for Wabash, then added scoring runs of 17 and 44 yards in the third quarter to extend the lead to 40-0. Kenyon rallied for a pair of scores in the third and fourth quarters before freshman running back Mason Durrett finished off a six-play, 23-yard drive with a one-yard run to score his first collegiate touchdown.
While the Wabash offense was running away from Kenyon, the Little Giants held the host Lords' rushing game to 43 yards and one first down on 21 carries. Merkle completed 39-of-63 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown. The 39 completions are the most ever against a Wabash team, eclipsing the mark of 38 completions by Allegheny in 2006.
Wabash remains atop the North Coast Athletic Conference standings, improving to 2-0 in conference play with the victory. The Little Giants are off until September 29, when they return to Crawfordsville to host the College of Wooster at 2 p.m. as part of Wabash's annual Homecoming festivities.