DU tackles Lords for .500 season
The Denison defense held Kenyon to just 149 yards of total offense en route to a dominating 26-7 victory over the Lords on Saturday afternoon in Granville.
DU marched 44 yards in six plays on the opening drive of the game. The lone scoring drive of the first period was highlighted by a 38 yard pass from junior quarterback Max Paulus to senior Andy Carpenter. Senior kicker Matt Ring finished the drive with a 36-yard field goal to give the Big Red a 3-0 lead at 12:07
In the early stages of the second quarter, Denison capped off another drive with a 33-yard field goal. The Ring conversion was set up by a 21-yard scramble by Paulus. On the seventh play of DU's next possession, junior tailback Sam Fioroni eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing on the season when he rattled off five yards on a first-and-10 play.
With 43 seconds left in the half, Paulus and senior Braden Layer single-handedly generated the first touchdown of the day. The junior signal caller hit Layer on back-to-back comeback routes for 19 and 20 yards, respectively. After clocking the ball with 15 ticks remaining, Paulus hit Layer in the back left corner of the end zone with six seconds remaining. The Big Red entered the locker room with a 12-0 lead after a failed extra point.
Kenyon trimmed the deficit to 12-7 in the third quarter after a DU fumble gave the Lords a short field to work with. Bradley Couts capped off a four play, nine-yard drive that spanned one minute and 32 seconds with a one-yard touchdown run. The Kenyon TD represented the only scored of the period.
In the fourth quarter, the Denison rushing attack began to wear down the Kenyon defense. Fioroni ripped off runs of 11 and 15 yards on back-to-back carries. The junior then hauled in a pass from Paulus for 16 yards for another first down. Fioroni got the Big Red down to the three-yard line with an 11-yard scamper. He completed the scoring drive with a one-yard trot to the end zone on third-and-goal.
The Denison defense played takeaway on the ensuing drive, giving their offense the ball after a 42 second break. Senior Scott Baird stripped the ball away from Kenyon quarterback Dan Shannon, and Pat Effinger was right there to fall on the loose ball at the Big Red 43 yard line. Five plays after the fumble recovery, Paulus found a wide open Carpenter in the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown strike.
Fioroni finished the afternoon with 114 yards and a TD on 28 carries. He also had six catches for 68 yards. Paulus completed 18-of-29 for a season-high tying 288 yards and two touchdowns. Layer pulled in six receptions for 93 yards and a score, while Carpenter had three catches for 85 yards and a TD.
Fioroni finished the season with 1,093 yards, which ranks seventh all-time in school history, while Paulus' 2,336 passing yards this season is the third most in program history. This season also marked the first time Denison had a 2,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. Additionally, Carpenter and Layer finished their senior seasons with 541 and 524 yards, respectively. The duo rank 11th and 12th on the single-season receiving yards list.
Senior Adam Frudden paced the Big Red defense with nine tackles, while Charlie Baker logged five tackles, including three tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Cale Garverick also made five stops, including one tackle for loss, and had two pass breakups.
Denison closed out its second season under head coach Jack Hatem with a 5-5 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Prior to the start of today's game the Denison football program recognized the contributions of their 14-member senior class. Scott Baird, Andy Carpenter, Drew Clanin, Pat Effinger, Adam Frudden, Lucas Graham, Ed Hebb, Greg Jones, Braden Layer, Jerome Ray, Matt Ring, Joe Romanowski, Chris Roth, and Anthony Zarate all played their final home game this afternoon.