HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College football team will open the 2018 season this Saturday, Sept. 1, at Centre College (Ky.). The Panthers and Colonels are slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
FAMILIAR FOE TO OPEN THE SEASON: Hanover will open the new campaign against a familiar foe, as the Panthers and Colonels are meeting in the season opener for the fifth consecutive year. Saturday's contest will also be the 47th meeting all-time between the two sides. Currently, Centre holds a 31-13-2 edge in the overall series and has won five straight meetings. The last time Hanover defeated the Colonels was in 2010, a 28-27 road triumph in overtime.
PANTHERS UNDER THEOBALD: Head coach Matt Theobald is entering his third season at the helm of his alma mater. Hanover has produced an 8-12 overall mark over the past two seasons, logging a 4-6 record each year. The Panthers will be searching for their first non-conference win under Theobald Saturday, as they are currently 0-4. On the road, HC has played close to .500 football under Theobald, going 4-6. The Blue and Red will carry a two-game road winning streak into Farris Stadium this weekend.
RETURNERS HEAD DEPTH CHART: Hanover's season-opening two-deep depth chart is littered with returning athletes, including a class-high nine juniors. The Panthers have also listed seven sophomores, five seniors and one freshman as starters for Week One.
PRESEASON POLL: The Panthers were recently picked to finish fourth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this fall, the highest ranking for the program since 2014. Franklin was picked as the league favorite, recording 87 total points and a poll-high six first place votes. Rose-Hulman and Mount St. Joseph rounded out the top three. For more information on the preseaosn poll, click here.
WEZENSKY TO START IN SEASON DEBUT: Sophomore Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.) is set to start at quarterback in his Hanover debut Saturday. Wezensky transferred into the program prior to the start of last season but dealt with injuries that kept him inactive for the entire year. Prior to coming to campus, Wezensky appeared in two games for NCAA Division I institution, Miami (Ohio). As a true freshman for the RedHawks, Wezensky completed 28-of-53 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns against a pair of Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponents.
RUN COANE RUN: Sophomore Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) earned his shot at the running back position near the midway point of last season and did not disappoint. Coane finished the 2017 campaign with a team high 83.3 rushing yard average, while also scoring seven touchdowns. The then freshman also recorded 30 catches for 392 yards and six scores. In eight games, Coane averaged 145.3 all-purpose yards, which was among the nation's leaders.
TREBER TOPS HCAC IN TACKLES: 2017 HCAC Freshman of the Year, Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.), returns for his second stint with the Blue and Red this fall. Treber paced the Panthers and the HCAC in tackles per game last season, 10.9, while also ranking among the top 25 nationally. In nine games, he posted four double-digit tackle performances, including a pair of 20-stop efforts. One of his 20-tackle games came against Centre in the opener.
D-LINE DOOMING BACKFIELDS: Hanover will have a pair of all-conference selections along the defensive line this season in senior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Zikk Omoruyi (Palm Beach, Fla.). Dauer, a two-time all-HCAC honoree, led the team and ranked among the best in the conference in total sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (12.5) in 2017. The senior also averaged over six tackles per contest a year ago.
Omoruyi returns to the program after a one-year absence. As a freshman in 2016, Omoruyi led the squad in tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (7.0) en route to being named to the conference's second team.
UP NEXT: Hanover will return to campus for its home opener against Thomas More (Ky.), who is receiving votes in the national top 25 poll conducted by D3football.com. The Panthers and Saints will meet for the first time since 2015 when they kickoff at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, at Alumni Stadium.
Contact: Tyler Jester