DePauw will test Colonels

October 31, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

It's the second major character test of the season for Centre College, and coach Andy Frye has every reason to believe the Colonels will pass with flying colors.

Still smarting from a spanking by conference leader Trinity, Centre must regroup for another challenging league game Saturday at DePauw.

"I think this is a big game for us to be able to show what type of football team we really are," Frye said.

The last time Frye looked for a similar response from the Colonels' came after their loss to Washington & Lee in week four. He got what he was looking for, as they bounced back with three straight wins.

The challenge is greater this time for two reasons. First, Centre must climb out of a deeper hole after its 52-7 loss at Trinity in a battle for first place in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Second, it must now rebound against what is probably the second-best team on the schedule.


Frye said the Colonels appear to have risen to the challenge.

"They've practiced real hard," Frye said. "They're much more resilient than the coaches."

The Centre coach said the players understand the mistakes they made against Trinity in a game in which there was virtually no margin for error.

"We just showed them that it was basically execution," he said. "There were some things we did very well and some things we did very poorly.

"(Trinity) played their 'A' game, and they even said that was the best game they've played all year."

Teams tied for second

Centre (6-2, 3-1 SCAC) is now tied with DePauw (5-2, 3-1) for second place, and the Colonels could still claim a piece of the league title if Trinity stumbles against Rhodes or another conference foe.

"We're still playing for something right now," Frye said.

DePauw is in the same boat, and the Tigers appear to be playing their best football of the season. They have followed a 2-2 start with three straight wins, albeit against teams that have only four victories between them.

While their offensive numbers don't quite match Trinity's, they aren't far behind. The Tigers are second to Trinity in the SCAC scoring offense (33.1 points per game) and total offense (422.3 yards per game).

DePauw boasts the conference's top rushing attack (200.7 yards per game) and has three running backs ranked among the top six rushers. Senior Jackson Rust leads the way with 449 yards, followed by sophomore Ross Wiethoff (411) and senior Matt King (395).

Wiethoff is also DePauw's punter - he is tied with Centre's John Jennings for the SCAC's top average at 37.6 yards - and one of two quarterbacks the Tigers use regularly. The other, senior Andy Yoder, is the primary passer with 1,182 yards, eight touchdowns and 88 more attempts than Wiethoff.

"I still think they're a spread team that likes to run the ball to try to spread you out," Frye said.

Junior receiver Jamarcus Shepherd, named SCAC offensive player of the week after logging 330 all-purpose yards and returning a league-record two kickoffs for touchdowns against Millsaps, now leads the SCAC in yards per game with 81.6 after Centre's Lorenzo Engleman saw his average fall to 71.6 last week.

Engleman continues to lead the league in all-purpose yards with 175.8 per game.

Brian Behrendt, who has thrown for 1,671 yards and 16 touchdowns, sat out most of this week's practices after suffering a separated shoulder last week but is expected to play Saturday.

"We'll tape him together if we have to," Frye said.

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