Defense Stars in 24-3 Win at Kenyon
October 15, 2016
Senior quarterback Connor Rice produced a pair of scores for Wabash Saturday while the defense held Kenyon’s Brian Hunca to 39 receiving yards in a 24-3 win for the Little Giants.
Hunca entered the game as Division III’s leading receiver, averaging 164.3 yards per game. Wabash limited the senior to seven receptions total with a longest effort of 18 yards. Junior defensive back Brian Parks recorded four of the Little Giants’ 12 pass breakups on the day to set both new Wabash individual and team records.
Rice found little difficulty connecting with his Little Giant receivers. He completed 16-of-21 passing attempts for 185 yards. Seven different receivers caught passes for Wabash. Senior tight end Sammy Adams led the team with four receptions for 57 yards.
Nineteenth-ranked Wabash (5-1, 4-1 NCAC) scored first on a 15-yard pass from Rice to Adams for a 7-0 lead. Midway through the second quarter the Little Giants mounted a monstrous 16-play, 93-yard drive that lasted 7:11, ended in a Rice 4-yard TD run. Andrew Tutsie added a 39-yard field goal to match his longest career attempt and give Wabash a 17-0 halftime advantage.
Matt Penola picked up nine of his 27 total rushing yards on a second-half touchdown run to boost the lead to 24-0. Shamir Johnson was the workhorse for the Wabash running attack with 22 carries for 86 yards. The Little Giants finished with 44 carries for 136 yards.
The Little Giant defense held Kenyon’s run game in check in addition to Hunca’s receptions. The Lords (3-4, 2-4 NCAC) managed just 16 yards on 17 carries. Evan Hansen made eight tackles to lead the Little Giants, while Ryan Walters recorded six tackles and two pass breakups. CJ McMann also finished with six tackles. Jacob Helmer and Connor Ludwig added five tackles apiece.
Kenyon prevented Wabash from picking up its second consecutive shutout with a Szabi Simo field goal from 27 yards with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter to end a 14-play, 59-yard drive.
Kenyon’s freshman quarterback, Thomas Merkle, completed 24-of-46 passes for 184 yards and was sacked one time. The Lords came into the game averaging 315 passing yards per game. Ian Bell paced the Kenyon receivers with nine catches for 75 yards, including four for 36 yards on the drive that culminated in the field goal for the Lords.
Wabash returns home Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff against The College of Wooster.