WABASH COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Memorable Monon kick
DePauw backup sophomore kicker hits game-winning 47-yard field goal
Monday, November 12, 2007 9:30 PM
GREENCASTLE - Another Monon Bell thriller for the ages came down to one improbable kick.
The Paper photo by Lori Poteet
Wabash College sophomore quarterback Matt Hudson throws a pass as DePauw junior defensive lineman Michael McNeilis dives over a blocker to try to make a sack.
Jordan Havercamp hadn't attempted a field goal all season. He hadn't even played in a varsity football game this year.
But with 2.4 seconds remaining, the DePauw University sophomore transfer had the chance of a lifetime - and he booted himself into Monon Bell lore.
Playing in his first varsity game, Havercamp hit a 47-yard field goal as time expired to give DePauw a 24-21 upset victory over No. 9 Wabash Saturday at Blackstock Stadium in Greencastle in the 114th-annual Monon Bell game.
"I'm disappointed," Wabash College senior wide receiver Mike Russell said. "We don't have the Bell and that's something our campus prides itself on. It's a pretty bad feeling. But it's another step for our team. We've dealt with adversity all year long. Now we move on to the playoffs and have a chance to redeem ourselves."
DePauw (7-3) ended Wabash's (9-1) undefeated season - deflating the Little Giants' hot run into the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Wabash still earned a No. 3 seed in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Region and will face No. 6 seed Mount St. Joseph's (9-1) at noon this Saturday at Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium.
Saturday's game marked the fourth time in six years the Monon Bell game has been decided by single digits and happened six years to the day of the play known as "The Catch".
Wabash coach Chris Creighton knew the Little Giants had to slow down DePauw senior running back Jeremiah Marks to win.
But he ran all over the Little Giants, carrying the ball 45 times (a school record) for 181 yards and catching seven passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
And with 50.5 seconds left in the game, Marks and DePauw sophomore quarterback Spud Dick led the Tigers on a nine-play 67-yard drive to the game-winning field goal. Marks rushed for 26 yards and Dick completed four-of-four passing attempts for 41 yards.
That set the stage for Havercamp, who didn't find out until midgame that he would get his chance to play. He replaced junior placekicker Brendan Smith, who missed a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter. And like Smith, Havercamp had his struggles Saturday, too.
He missed an extra point that would have tied the game at 14-14 in the third quarter. But Havercamp redeemed himself at the end with a kick which cleared the bottom crossbar to the left by nearly five yards.
"I was ready," said Havercamp, a sophomore transfer from Denison College who attempted only his second career field goal and longest of his collegiate career. "The whole season I was waiting for my chance. I thought it was good. It never went outside the posts. It felt good when I hit it. I was not nervous until I lined up. Then it hit me. But you've got to play through it."
"I was trying to blow on the flag up there," Creighton said. "I was trying to get some wind on it . . . Heck ya (it's disappointing). We wanted to be undefeated, ringing the Bell and have a higher seed in the playoffs. This is definitely a team that has come together in tough situations. We've been there before. Greatness doesn't come easy."
Senior linebacker Adi Pynenberg led Wabash with 19 tackles - and he seemed to give the Little Giants a huge lift just before halftime.
With 20 seconds left and DePauw on a third-and-goal from the Wabash 2-yard line, Dick threw a short pass to the right side to senior fullback Brett Claxton. But Pynenberg made a bonecrushing helmet-to-helmet hit on Claxton at the 1-yard line and stopped him short of the goal.
Dick's pass went incomplete on fourth down and for the second time in the half, the Little Giants had stopped the Tigers inside the 10-yard line and they still had a 14-7 lead.
"(Brett) hit me just as hard and I was slow to get up. They had to pull me off the field for fourth down," Pynenberg said. "I wish we could've taken more momentum off that. Our defense never got rolling. We couldn't' stop the run . . . This team knows how to overcome adversity and if this isn't adversity, I don't know what is."
In his first Monon Bell game, Wabash sophomore quarterback Matt Hudson played well. He threw for 322 yards and a touchdown - a 65-yard pass to senior wide receiver Bart Banach to put the Little Giants up 21-13. But he also threw an interception late in the fourth quarter, which led to DePauw's game-winning drive.