Sixty-five seconds allow No. 8 Wabash to slip away

Eighth-ranked Wabash College scored two touchdowns in a 65-second span to pull away for a 33-12 victory against Hanover College. The Panthers’ home opener was played Saturday, Sept. 8, at L.S. Ayres Field.

Hanover, playing a nationally-ranked opponent for the second straight week, trailed 19-12 with 8:45 left in the contest after senior receiver Colton Zeck (Galveston, Ind.) snagged a two-yard touchdown bullet from junior quarterback Dexter Britt (Louisville, Ky.).

Wabash countered with a seven-play, 63-yard scoring drive. The Little Giants earned a little breathing room when Sean Hildebrand caught a seven-yard strike from Chase Belton to bump the margin to 26-12 with 5:04 to play.

With Hanover moving toward midfield on its next possession, Wabash defensive back Austin Hodges snatched an interception on third-down-and-one play and raced 39 yards for a touchdown to stretch the Little Giants’ lead to 33-12 and, with just 3:59 on the clock, put away the game.

Wabash (1-0) led 9-0 after the first period before Hanover cut the lead to 9-6 in the opening minute of the second quarter. Senior wide receiver Daniel Passafiume (Louisville, Ky.) made a diving catch on a Britt pass from 10 yards out to get the Panthers on the scoreboard.

Wabash answered on its next possession. The Little Giants’ Andrew Gibson outpaced Hanover’s secondary on a 49-yard touchdown pass to nudge the lead to 16-6 with 11:48 left in the half.

Wabash eventually stretched the cushion to 19-6 on a 36-yard field goal from Ian McDougall just five seconds into the fourth period.

Hanover, which allowed 465 rushing yards in the opening loss at Illinois College, limited Wabash to just 29 yards on 31 attempts. The Little Giants also committed 15 penalties for 152 yards.

The Panthers, however, managed 222 yards against the Little Giants’ defense, including 211 through the air and only 11 on the ground.

Britt finished the day 29-for-48 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Passafiume and Zeck tallied nine receptions and a touchdown apiece.

Belton completed 25-of-32 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns. He also was picked off by junior safety Derrick Worden (Galveston, Ind.) on a first-down play midway through the third period.

Senior linebacker Andy Dalton (Guilford, Ind.) led the Panthers’ defense with 13 tackles. Freshman lineman Jake Stillwell (Pendleton, Ind.), making his first collegiate start, had five stops, including two sacks.

Hanover vs. Wabash statistics