BY RAY WALKER
Complete and utter dominance.
The Allegheny Gators made their way to Granville, Ohio from Meadville, Pennsylvania to try and keep their momentum flowing from their last win against Wooster.
Meanwhile, the Big Red entered Saturday’s contest looking to bounce back from a loss to Southwestern out of Texas.
Denison turned up the pressure early in the 1st quarter and attacked, getting the ball down the field in a hurry.
Quarterback, Canaan Gebele ‘19, looked very poised in the backfield connecting with, Malik Webster ‘19 for a 28-yard reception. Veteran tailback, Alex Minton ‘18 finished the drive off for the Big Red plunging into the endzone to give Denison the first lead of the game.
As the Denison offense wasted no time making their presence known, neither did the Denison defense. The Big Red defense was dominant and absolutely disruptive all afternoon. The Gators had a very difficult time finding opportunities and moving the ball. Freshman safety, Ryan Hallinan ‘22, came up huge for the Big Red in getting stops for Denison and would finish the day with an impressive eight tackles.
The pressure of the Big Red defense led to a major loss early in the game as their star receiver, Alex Victor, who entered the day as the Division 3 leader in receiving yards this season with 444 yards in just two games, got injured on a 19-yard reception and did not return for the remainder of the game.
Additional key players that contributed to the great defensive effort for the Big Red included Dallas Griffiths ‘21 and, Nate Keirn ‘20. Keirn ‘20 gave Gators quarterback, Logan Lee, issues all throughout the afternoon making his way into the backfield for one sack, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries.
Late in the first quarter, Big Red tailback, Dara Laja ‘20, decided he would make a statement of his own rushing 70 yards for the breakaway touchdown, the first of his Denison career. This was the longest rushing touchdown since Gebele ran for 79 yards last year against the same Gators squad.
Denison was able to comfortably maintain their 14-0 lead until late in the second quarter where they turned up the tempo a little more. After the Big Red continued to impose their will, the Gators had no other choice but to punt it away for the seventh time in the first half alone.
Gebele ‘19 didn’t skip a beat, swinging it to Minton ‘19 for a 48-yard gain. Setting up at the 2-yard line, Minton ‘19 got it done and put the Big Red up 21-0 going into halftime with complete control of the game.
As the third quarter approached, the Big Red kept their foot on the throttle scoring, finding the endzone three more times to run the score up to 42-0.
Gebele ‘19 was in his zone hitting, David Weimar ‘19 for a touchdown pass of 14 yards and later connected with, Cody Farley ‘19 for a 37-yard scoring drive. With about 3:60 left in the third, the Big Red quarterback took matters into his own hands, scoring on a 16-yard run.
The Denison defense also didn’t let up their level of intense pressure as the Gators remained scoreless.
The Gators just couldn’t seem to find very many opportunities and the Big Red attacked from all cylinders, all afternoon. Denison overpowered the Gators in yardage, 554-203 and only allowing the Gators 3.4 yards per play.
Weimer discussed that their attack coming in was to “just to get back doing business like we are used to. We were coming off a bye week, so we had a lot of time to prepare and gameplan this week, so it was just a matter of executing during the game. We knew that if we played mistake-free, then we would be fine.”
The momentum the Big Red built early was also important. Weimer also discussed how they maintained that momentum throughout the dominant win. “I think making a big play at the right time, whether that was a long run or catch, or a big stop on defense, really helped us maintain momentum. It can be easy to become complacent especially if you are up a few scores or so, but I think our team did a really good job of staying focused throughout the entire game.”
With a final score of 42-0, Denison dominated the day and earned an emphatic first win of the season to improve to 1-1 overall.
The Big Red will head to Oberlin this Saturday, October 22 looking to knock off the Yeomen of Oberlin.