CORDERO ESTREMERA, Special to The Denisonian — Denison football games are the place to be.The team has high expectations for the upcoming 2019-2020 football season.

Ben Cross ‘20 had said, “We have very high expectations. The plan is to win the NCAC championship, and do it decisively,” 

The Big Red were dynamic on both sides of the football in their opening game of the year, limiting Ohio Northern to two touchdowns and just under 230 yards of total offense at home on Saturday night.

Denison’s first drive of the contest was cut short after an early turnover. Afterwards, Denison’s defense stopped ONU’s drive.This was the story for the majority of the opening quarter as both defenses prevented either team from building any sort of momentum.

Late in the quarter Denison suffered another pivotal turnover. ONU gained great field position and capitalized. The Polar Bears completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the beginning of the second quarter, but failed to convert on the extra point afterwards. Denison responded with a string of great plays, but again the drive ended early. However, the momentum they had begun building would continue over to Denison’s next possession.

On the following drive Denison finally broke the ice with a 19-yard touchdown connection between Drew Dawkins ‘22 and Alex Minton ‘19.

It was the first touchdown in Dawkins’ first career start for the Big Red, but his night was just getting started.

ONU responded with a convincing possession of their own, reaching Denison’s redzone. However, Denison’s defense stood strong preventing a critical 4th down attempt by the Polar Bears. This killed any momentum ONU previously had.

Dawkins ‘22 responded with an incredible throw on the run, connecting with Minton for a touchdown late in the second quarter. Minton ‘19 also added another touchdown score on the ground.

After a shaky start on offense, the Big Red would head into the locker room with a comfortable 21-6 lead.

Dawkins would later connect with wideout Peyton Vining on a 63-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Denison’s offense kept the foot on the pedal with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The first being a reception by Dallas Griffiths and the other another rushing touchdown by Minton ‘19, his fourth score of the game. ONU managed to sneak a touchdown late in the fourth.

The game came to a close and the final score ended 42-13. Denison’s offense got to a slow start, but made impressive adjustments. The team did nearly all of the little things extremely well, which is a tribute to the preparation they had before the opening game of the season. Pat Kramer ‘21, for example, converted on 6/6 extra point attempts for the Big Red.

The defense was dominant all game long and their experience really showed. 10 out of 11 are returning starters, while the offense is a bit younger. However, the two sides of the ball worked in parallel. They showed a sense of togetherness and discipline. 

Minton ‘19 speaks to the unique characteristics that separate this year’s team from those of years past. “Our team first mentality. Everyone is invested on and off the field…There are players who won’t get playing time and they still give 110%. Those guys are what makes our team unique,” said Minton.

This team explempifies commadertiy and as the season grows so will this team.

The Big Red will enjoy a week off before they are back in action at home on Saturday, September 21 in their first conference game of the season versus the Hiram Terriers (0-1).