JOEY SEMEL, Editor-in-Chief — In an utterly dominant performance in all three phases of the ball, Denison football won in dominant fashion, topping Hiram by a score of 66-7 to move to 2-0 on the year and 1-0 in NCAC play.
The Big Red jumped on Hiram early, jumping out to a 49-0 lead with over eight minutes to go in the first half. Hiram would lead their only scoring drive in response, and the scoreboard read 49-7 at halftime.
It can be difficult to keep pushing in such a blowout. The Big Red managed to keep adding to the score as the game went on. Linebacker and leading tackler through two games Andrew Smith spoke to how the team stays locked in.
“I guess it’s not trying to stay focused but instead just doing our jobs. Yeah, the score can be whatever but, as long as the whole team is doing their jobs from the starters to the guys in the third spot is the main focus,” Smith said.
Tailback Alex Minton ‘20 led the way in the first half, finishing the day with 15 carries for 90 yards and three scores. Peyton Vining ‘22 had two catches. Both were touchdowns, including the highlight of the day as Drew Dawkins ‘22 dropped a perfect deep ball to Vining that led to a 56-yard score.
Vining also added a rushing touchdown on what appeared to be the “Philly Special,” only instead of a throw to Dawkins, Vining saw the lane and took it in himself.
Denison has their first real test of the NCAC slate coming next week against Wabash. The Little Giants opened the season as the favorites to win the NCAC and opened the season ranked #23. To Smith and the Big Red however, Wabash is just like everybody else.
“The mindset for us is that it’s just going to be another game. The whole mind set for the team has been getting better and only work on ourselves and not worrying too much about the other team,” Smith said.
While the offense saw some major pieces leave, the defensive side of the ball remains largely intact from last year’s tournament run.
The team returns the entire defensive line, in addition to key pieces in the linebacking core (Smith included) and the secondary. The experience has shown, as the team has allowed just 20 points in their first two games.
Smith spoke to the chemistry in year two for the defense. He also thinks they can get even better.
“Having almost all the guys back is huge. I mean the D-Line has just been incredible from Nate, Ben, Chase, Jordan, Will, Eric, Joey. Those guys have made it amazing for the defense and plus Ryan at safety has been great since last year, so the chemistry truly has been unreal. The defense has been playing great but our best game is for sure to come,” Smith said.
As for looking ahead, Smith just wants to improve upon where the team finished last year; a three way tie for the NCAC crown.
“Setting a goal is tough because everyone expects something different, but the majority of the team has their eyes set on winning the NCAC outright and felt like we got cheated out of it last year. We are coming back to regain what we won.”Up next for the Big Red are the Wabash Little Giants in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The game will take place at 2pm. An online stream of the game can be found at https://team1sports.com/Wabash/.