129th Monon Bell Classic

Little Giants fall in 129th Monon Bell Classic in overtime thriller


Never before in the 128 prior Monon Bell Classic games had there been what transpired on Saturday at Little Giant Stadium in the 129th rendition of the great rivalry between Wabash and DePauw. The two rivals needed two overtimes to decide which school would bring home the Monon Bell, win the North Coast Athletic Conference Title, and earn a spot in the Division III playoffs. In the end Wabash had their chances but for the second straight season, the Little Giants fell short as DePauw scored the game-winning touchdown in double OT for the 33-30 victory.

The momentum meter was in non-stop swing mode. In the first OT DePauw got the ball and on its second play fumbled which Wabash’s Jake Pasch recovered. All Wabash needed was a score to bring the bell back home. Wabash’s drive stalled out and on stepped Brody Rucker for the win. The Tiger special teams stepped up and blocked the game-winning field goal to force the second OT. In the second overtime Wabash’s offense got the ball first and was forced to kick a field goal. Rucker redeemed himself by drilling a 41-yarder but Wabash’s defense needed a stop and they couldn’t get it. The Monon Bell stays with the Tigers as their un-defeated season continues and for the Little Giants, their season comes to an end.

For Wabash they end their season with a record of 7-3 and 6-2 in the NCAC.

“We certainly had plenty of opportunities to win that game and just didn’t get the job done,” Wabash coach Don Morel said. “We ran the ball for over 300 yards and we hardly ever lose when that’s the case. The rivalry has seemed to grow bigger and bigger each year and every single play counts in this game.”

For the game Wabash ran the ball 50 times for 310 yards. In his final Monon Bell game and what was ultimately the final game of his historic Wabash career, Liam Thompson ran 17 times for 143 yards while being 11-21 through the air for 114 yards.

DePauw tallied 435 yards of offense with 193 coming on the ground and 242 through the air.

Thompson’s Little Giant career sees him end as a two-time NCAC player of the year and a finalist for this seasons William Campbell Trophy which is presented to the top scholar athlete in college football.  He ends as the NCAC’s all-time leader in passing yards and total offense.

“We did a lot of good things offensively today and everyone played their tails off today,” Thompson said of his team. “It wasn’t because of our effort that’s for sure. I’m extremely grateful for Wabash and I’ve made so many friends and brothers during my time here. I definitely made the right choice by coming here. I had so much playing the game that I love and got to do it at the best place in the world.”

Morel also put the career of Thompson into perspective as he knows it’s an end of an era for one of the greatest talents to walk through Wabash College.

“What Liam has done for Wabash College in the most unselfish manner has been incredible,” Morel said. “We’ve never had a Campbell Trophy finalist before and his decision to hold off graduation to come back and play football, he delayed his life so that he could play one more season. Overall it’s the end of just a phenomenal era with guys like Derek Allen Jr, Cooper Sullivan, Penn Stoller, Steven Thomas, Joe Rios, Cade Campbell, Donavon Snyder, and so many others who left their mark here over the last four seasons.”

In total the Little Giants will graduate 16 seniors. Next season will be different but life moves on and now so do the Little Giants as preparation for the 2024 season is already underway.