NCAC Football Showdown Set for Saturday
by Brent Harris
October 24, 2008
The last two teams undefeated in North Coast Athletic Conference play meet Saturday afternoon at Wabash College when the Little Giants play the College of Wooster at 1 p.m. at Hollett Little Giant Stadium.
Wabash enters the game ranked sixth in the latest D3football.com poll and fifth by the American Football Coaches Association with a record of 6-0 and 4-0 in league games. Wooster is 5-1 and a perfect 3-0 in NCAC action. The Scots only loss came in a 28-7 contest against 13th-ranked Case Western Reserve.
The game will be broadcast live over the Internet by Hometown Television. Joe Emmick '92 and Steve Hoffman '85 will call the action beginning at 12:50 p.m. with the pregame show. The broadcast is available live on Teamline and is re-aired Monday on Hometown Channel 19 in Hamilton County at noon, 4 p.m., and 8 p.m.
Two kicks set up this Saturday’s showdown between undefeated NCAC teams in Crawfordsville. The Little Giants kicked a 41-yard field goal against Wittenberg Saturday to keep Wabash perfect on the season.. The Fighting Scots got a 17-yard field goal from Dan Grangaard in the final two minutes of Wooster’s 16-14 win over Earlham.
The Wooster offense runs — literally — through quarterback Austin Holter. He threw for a career-best 327 yards and ran for another 66 last week against Washington University, accounting for 393 of the Scots’ 489 total yards in the 38-13 win. Last season Holter slashed the Little Giants for 229 yards (105 rushing and 129 passing). He is currently ranked fourth in the NCAC in passing (199.7 ypg) and sixth in rushing (75.8 ypg).
Senior running back Dustin Sheppard has missed the last three games due to an injury and is not listed on this week’s lineup card for the Scots. Last season he ran for 111 yards on 19 carries against Wabash. He has rushed for 198 yards and three TDs in three games. Freshman DaJaun Bush has shouldered the rushing load since Sheppard left the lineup, averaging 67.6 yards in five games.
Junior Mike Francescangeli and sophomore Mike Redick are tied for the team lead in receptions. Francescangeli has caught 21 passes for 304 yards and three TDS. Redick has made 21 catches for 204 yards and one score.
Wooster is tied for the NCAC lead in scoring defense, holding opponents to an average of 12.2 points per game. The Scots are third in rushing defense (87.8 ypg) and total defense (277.3 ypg). Linebacker Matt DeGrand, an Honorable Mention All-NCAC selection in 2007, leads the Scots this season with 73 tackles, 7-1/2 tackle for losses, and three sacks. Safety Brian Swan has four of Wooster’s 12 interceptions.
Wabash picked up the win at Wittenberg last weekend despite committing five turnovers. The Little Giant defense held Wittenberg in check throughout the afternoon. The Tigers were scoreless in the second half and were held to 65 rushing yards and 184 yards of total offense.
The Little Giants came to life on offense in the final five minutes of the game after Wittenberg's only turnover of the contest. NCAC Defensive Player of the Week Jared Lange knocked the football out of the hands Tiger quarterback Andrew Durbin. The fumble was recovered by Bryan Watson, setting up the Wabash offense. Junior quarterback Matt Hudson hit Kody LeMond for a 15-yard TD pass to tie the game at 10-10.
LeMond grabbed a 35-yard pass from Hudson in the final minute of play to set up Spencer Whitehead's longest field goal attempt of his career. The sophomore drilled the kick through the uprights to give Wabash the win with four seconds left in the game.