Denison clinched Saturday’s game with a statement 48-20 win over Hiram College. What really pulled Denison over the top in this match was their relentless ground game.
The Big Red’s running game was utterly unstoppable.
Senior running back, Alex Minton, was a powerful force in this game, rushing for 219 yards and three touchdowns on only 22 carries. In last week’s win over Ohio Wesleyan, Minton, rushing for 226 yards, became the first player in Denison history to have back-to-back 200-yard rushing games. He also has exceeded 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight season.
Minton stated, “The success of the running game is due to our offensive line. I believe we have the best offensive line in the NCAC and they make my job a lot easier and I contribute my success to them.”
After Hiram scored off of a Denison fumble, the Big Red wasted no time responding with three scoring drives of their own in the first quarter. Minton had two of the three touchdowns. Those were followed by a stellar 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Canaan Gebele ‘19 to running back Hunter Biddle ‘21.
After another Minton touchdown, Hiram followed it up with a 51-yard drive. The strong drive the pressure for the time being, and left them trailing by one touchdown going into halftime.
In the second half, the Denison defense stood strong, only allowing Hiram to gain 119 yards. It was an all around team effort, but four players really stood out.
Linebacker Andrew Smith ‘21 finished with eight tackles and one sack. DL Nate Keirn ‘20 gathered six tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. DL Ben Cross ‘20 had 1.5 sacks and linebacker Will Brady ‘20 added one sack and one fumble recovery.
The Big Red rushing attack has been strong all year, and that did not change on Saturday, as they finished with 377 yards on the ground.
Minton has been a dual threat running back all year, and led the receiving attack with three catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. He was without question the best player on the field Saturday with a superb performance. Minton now has 1,033 yards on the season and he is averaging 6.5 yards per carry with nine total rushing touchdowns.
Minton remained humble and grounded in his approach mentioning, “Multiple offensive weapons like Canaan, David Weimar, Biddle, and Webster, it tends to take a lot of the attention off of you and the defense has to worry about all of those guys and more.”
Just as Minton said, credit is also due to the field general, quarterback Canaan Gebele. Gebele let his ground game loose as well on Saturday rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 carries. There were only eight passing attempts on the game by Denison and Gebele went 5-for-5 for 126 yards and two touchdowns on those attempts.
With this Big Red win, Denison moves into a three-way tie for first place for the top spot in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Next Saturday, November 3 at 5 p.m., Denison will host the Fighting Scots of Wooster as they look to advance to 7-2 on the season.