DELAWARE, Ohio-- Denison outscored Ohio Wesleyan 24-7 in the second half en route to an impressive come-from-behind 31-20 win at Selby Stadium. With the win, the Big Red improves to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. OWU drops to 3-4 and 3-3 in conference play.
Trailing 20-7 late in the third quarter, the Big Red went to the ground with a steady dose of junior tailback Alex Minton who was given a plethora of alleys to run through by the DU offensive line.
After OWU scored on a 15-yard TD pass from Brian Berry to Sasoun Tcholakian, the Big Red took over with 8:30 left in the quarter and proceeded to go on a 16-play 84-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard TD pass from Canaan Gebele to Joshua Shackleford.
The Big Red defense came up big time and again in the second half and after a three-and-out by OWU, the Bishops combined with a Jerry Harper 21-yard punt, DU had impeccable field position at the OWU 28-yard line entering the fourth quarter.
The play of the drive and perhaps the play of the game came with Denison facing 4th-and-15 on OWU's 35. Gebele dropped back and found Hunter Biddle out of the slot for a 17-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Gebele scampered in from four yards out, giving DU its first lead of the game.
On the second play of Ohio Wesleyan's ensuing drive, AJ Jones fumbled the ball on a hit by Nate Keirn and Brice Winans was there for the recovery. After the DU offense failed to get a first down on their drive, the Bishops took over on their own 20-yard line after a 45-yard punt by Calvin Montgomery. Facing 3rd-and-6, Berry's pass was intercepted by Denison linebacker Hayden Hatten who dropped into coverage and made the pick. The turnover gave DU outstanding field position once again and after rushes of 18 yards and 11 yards by Minton, Denison reached paydirt and increased their lead to 28-20 with 6:02 left in the game.
Denison's kickoff was squibbed by Logan Graham and returned by Harper out to the OWU 37-yard line. Ohio Wesleyan gained nine yards on the first two plays of the drive and was faced with 3rd-and-1 from their own 46. They chose to go up the middle with Alex Barrett where he was stuffed at the line of scrimmage by Francis Fay. On fourth down, with the game hanging in the balance, OWU went back to Barrett only to be snuffed out by senior defensive lineman David Heyer.
DU took over near midfield, leading by eight and looking to chew-up the remaining 4:14. The Big Red kept up with the winning formula of Minton on the ground. He totaled 34 yards on the drive that was capped off by a 28-yard field goal by Pat Kramer to ice the win.
Minton finished with 22 carries for 152 yards and one touchdown. Gebele carried the ball 16 times for 29 yards with a score. He was 20-for-34 passing for 141 yards and two TD passes. In the second half he moved into fourth place on Denison's career passing list with 4,966 yards, passing Larry Cappetto '05 who ended his career with 4,949 yards through the air. Malik Webster was the leading receiver with four receptions for 34 yards. Kramer was 1-for-1 in field goal attempts and 4-for-4 on PATs.
On defense, Hatten led the way with 10 tackles and one interception. Winans finished with nine tackles and one fumble recovery. Interceptions were also recorded by Alex Raynor and Fay.
Denison returns to Piper Stadium next Saturday, Oct. 29 for a 8 p.m. kickoff against Hiram College.