Special to 1808Delaware
After earning the North Coast Athletic Conference title in 2021, DePauw has been picked to defend as NCAC champions according to balloting of the league’s football coaches.
The Tigers collected three of the possible nine first-place votes and 72 points overall. The Little Giants head into 2022 slotted second after collecting four first-place votes and 70 total points, while Wittenberg earned one first-place vote and 58 points overall, good for third in the rankings. Ohio Wesleyan took fourth with 56 points, while Denison claimed fifth, picking up the final first-place vote and 55 points overall. Wooster was slotted sixth with 39 points, while Kenyon was seventh (23), Oberlin eighth (19) and Hiram ninth (13).
In two seasons under head coach Brett Dietz, the Tigers are 11-3 overall and are looking for back-to-back conference titles after winning the program’s first since joining the conference in 2011. DePauw returns 2021 All-NCAC first team wide receiver Jaylon Smith (Willowbrook, IL/Hinsdale South), along with all-conference first-team linebackers Brevon Gude (Avon, IN/Avon) and Luke Marsh (Whittestown, IN/Western Boone). Smith, the 2021 NCAC Newcomer of the Year, hauled in 37 receptions for 882 yards and a conference-high 11 receiving touchdowns a season ago. On defense, Marsh recorded a team-high 77 tackles, while Gude collected 60 stops, second most on the team. The Tigers also return AllNCAC first-team kicker Joe Sullivan (Cincinnati, OH/St. Xavier).
The 2022 NCAC football season will kick off Sept. 3 with a slate of nine non-conference games. The conference portion of the schedule will begin Sept. 10 with one game, Wooster at Hiram, while the first full slate of games will take place on Sept. 17.
Poll results were as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
1. DePauw (3) – 72
2. Wabash (4) – 70
3. Wittenberg (1) – 58
4. Ohio Wesleyan – 56
5. Denison (1) – 55
6. Wooster – 39
7. Kenyon – 23
8. Oberlin – 19
9. Hiram – 13
The Battling Bishops start the 2022 season against non-conference rival the Otterbein Cardinals. The contest will take place at Selby Stadium in Delaware on Sept. 3 at 2 PM.