HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover football team will look to tie its longest winning streak under third year head coach Matt Theobald by hosting Earlham this weekend.
The Panthers (2-2, 2-0 HCAC) will be searching for their third straight win this fall when they kick off against the Quakers at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6. The game is also a part of the College's 91st annual Homecoming celebration and the team is requesting Hanover fans wear white.
SERIES HISTORY: Hanover and Earlham will be meeting for the 62nd time Saturday, with the Panthers holding a 45-14-2 edge in the all-time series. The first meeting between the two sides came in 1913, a 6-2 HC victory. The Blue and Red have won 14 straight against the Quakers, with the streak starting in 1984. Hanover has faced EC each year since 2010, holding a plus-31.8 average scoring margin over the stretch.
DEJA VÚ?: With a 55-8 win at Anderson last week, the Panthers are 2-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for the first time since 2012. That year, HC started conference play 6-0 before finishing with a 6-4 overall mark and 6-2 league record, which was good enough for a second place tie in the final standings. If Hanover could match or improve upon those marks in 2012, the overall and conference win totals would be a program-high under Theobald.
HANOVER, HAIL TO THEE: The Panthers will be celebrating Homecoming this weekend, which always results in one of the more attended home football games each fall. Hanover is 3-3 in its last six Homecoming games, which includes a 31-28 triumph over Bluffton in 2017. The Blue and Red also defeated Earlham to start the six-year stretch in 2012, by a count of 55-10. Fans can expect a high-scoring affair as well, as HC has logged 30 or more points in four of the last six Homecoming contests.
OBERHAUSEN RECEIVES HCAC AWARD: Freshman punter Brayden Oberhausen (Louisville, Ky.) picked up his first HCAC award after being named the league's special teams player of the week this past Monday. Oberhausen had five punts in the win over Anderson, recording a 39.0-yard average and three kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line. For the season, Oberhausen has a 35.8-yard average over 23 punts, which also includes seven inside the 20-yard line and a long of 51 yards.
SCORING FIRST: Hanover has shown an explosive offensive throughout the 2018 season, but especially so early, scoring first in three of its four games. In HC's lone attempt in which it failed to score first, the team still recorded a touchdown on its first offensive possession against Thomas More (Ky.). The Blue and Red found early success last week, earning a 14-0 lead over AU at the end of the first quarter. Hanover has held a first half, three-touchdown lead in each of its past two outings.
DOMINATING DEFENSE: The Panthers have been the top defense in the HCAC this season, leading the league in numerous statistical categories, while also ranking among the top 50 in NCAA Division III. Highlighting the defense this year are the team's scoring average of 18.3 and total yards allowed, 311.3 per game. In conference competition, the Blue and Red are yet to allow over 10 points or concede more than 200 yards of offense. Part of the overall success has been Hanover's performance on third down and in the red zone. On third downs. HC is holding its opponents to a .294 conversion percentage, which is among the leaders nationally. Hanover is also allowing a score in the red zone on 53.8 of its trips, which ranks 22nd in Division III.
DAUER, OMORUYI LIVING IN THE BACKFIELD: Another team defensive statistic the Panthers lead the conference in is sacks per game, 3.5. Leading the charge up front has been senior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Zikk Omoruyi (Palm Beach, Fla.), who are coming off a combined five-sack performance at AU. Dauer is averaging 6.3 tackles per game and is among the HCAC leaders in tackles for loss (4.5) and sacks (2.5). Omoruyi's 2.5 sacks have him in the top 10 of the HCAC as well.
TREBER TOPS IN TACKLING: Sophomore Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) currently leads the team in tackling with 31 total stops and 7.8 per game. Treber is coming off a four-tackle performance at Anderson, which included two tackles for loss. To go along with his total tackling numbers, the sophomore has three stops for loss, one interception and one pass break up in 2018.
WEZENSKY AIRING IT OUT: Sophomore Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.) has been key in the Panthers' offensive attack and the gunslinger is coming off a five passing touchdown game at Anderson. With his bevy of scores, Wezensky is now 14th nationally and third in the HCAC for season passing touchdowns, 13. The sophomore is also top 20 in the country in completions per game, 23.5. Averaging 250 yards through the air each week, Wezensky is also starting to flirt with the program's single season completion percentage, which was set by Hanover athletic hall of famer Chris Stromer in 1998, at .675. Wezensky is currently at a .631 completion clip.
DAUGHERTY DOING HIS THING: Junior wideout Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) has built a nice rapport with Wezensky, currently leading the team with 90.7 receiving yards per game. The junior is coming off a five-catch, 90-yard performance, which also saw him score a touchdown for the fourth time this fall. Daugherty has found the end zone four straight games and in six of his last seven outings dating back to last season. Another note for Daugherty, his next reception will be his 100th with the Blue and Red.
RECEIVERS RUNNING WILD: Hanover has had numerous receivers go off for multiple scores this season, as four players currently have two or more touchdowns through four games. Daugherty and his classmate Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Ind.) lead the way with four apiece. Bleistein had three receiving scores in the win over Anderson last Saturday. Sophomore Jared Frank (Louisville, Ky.) has three touchdowns, while junior Conner Gibson (Lexington, Ky.) has two scores. All four players also have double-digit catch totals this fall.
RUN COANE RUN: Sophomore Shawn Coane (Evnasville, Ind.) is coming off his best performance of the season, as he recorded 144 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. The do-it-all back is currently third in the league in rushing, averaging 91.3 yards per contest. Coane's also fifth in the league in all-purpose yards per game, 125.0, and is tied for the team lead and fifth in the HCAC in receptions per game, 5.3.
SCOUTING THE QUAKERS: Earlham will enter Saturday's contest with the nation's longest losing streak in Division III, 48 games, which started with a 28-14 setback to Hanover in 2013. Sitting at 0-5 overall and 0-3 in HCAC play, the Quakers have been outscored by an average margin of 47.2 points per game in 2018 and are coming off a 69-0 loss at Manchester.
Kobe Walker though, has been a bright spot for EC, as he currently leads the conference in tackles per game at 12.0. Walker has efforts of 19 and 15 stops this season and has added 3.5 tackles for loss as well. Offensively, Melvin Davis is among the top eight in the conference in rushing, totaling over 200 yards on the ground. Davis is also third on the team in receptions, 15.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will stay at home for their next contest, a date with Defiance. The HCAC game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start, Saturday, Oct. 13.
Contact: Tyler Jester