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Denison gridders overpower Hiram

Canaan Gebele  |  Photo by Brett Dunbar
Canaan Gebele | Photo by Brett Dunbar

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  Alex Minton rushed for a career-high 173 yards and three touchdowns to lead Denison to a 45-14 victory over Hiram College on Saturday night at Piper Stadium.

With injuries mounting amongst the Denison receiving corps, Minton has developed into somewhat of a bell cow running back for Jack Hatem's squad.  In victories over Ohio Wesleyan and Hiram over the last two weeks, Minton has rushed for 325 yards on the ground.  With two games left against Wooster and Kenyon, he has an outside chance at posting the 15th 1,000-yard rushing season in program history.  He has 716 yards through eight games.

The Terriers checked into the contest with the nation's 30th ranked offense and the North Coast Athletic Conference's second-leading rusher in Danny Robinson.  The senior tailback put his speed on full display when he broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run on Hiram's first drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead.

Denison answered with an 11-play 65-yard drive that was capped off by a 12-yard TD run by Big Red quarterback Canaan Gebele.

The Terriers bounced right back thanks to a couple of big plays through the air by quarterback Randy Tucker.  On 3rd-and-1 from their 29, he connected with Torin Mayhew for 16 yards.  On the very next play, Tucker went up top to Isaiah Jones for 43 yards.  Four plays later, Tucker called his own number and punched it in from 1-yard to take a 14-7 lead.

In the second quarter, Denison responded with 28 points on two rushing touchdowns by Minton, another by Gebele and a 54-yard TD pass from Gebele to Mitch Marston, marking the first career reception for the sophomore out of nearby Utica, Ohio.

After Marston's TD, Denison took a comfortable 35-14 lead into the intermission.  In the first half, DU piled up 332 yards of total offense with 183 yards coming on the ground and 149 through the air.

In the second half, it became more about ball control.  Denison won the time of possession battle, 35:00-25:00.

Gebele was 14-of-18 for 181 yards and one touchdown.  Minton toted the ball 21 times for 173 yards good for an 8.2 yard per carry average.  Gebele followed with 13 carries for 79 yards and two rushing TDs. 

For Hiram, Robinson had 16 carries for 112 yards and one touchdown.  Tucker was 14-of-34 for 181 yards.  He threw one interception to Denison's Francis Fay in the second quarter that helped set up the 54-yard touchdown pass from Gebele to Marston.

The Denison defense held Hiram (2-6, 1-6 NCAC) to 320 yards of total offense which is the second-lowest output for the Terriers in 2017.  Alex Raynor led DU in tackles with eight.  Hayden Hatten and TJ Gearhardt added six stops while Fay chipped in five tackles and one interception.

The Big Red travels to the College of Wooster next Saturday (Nov. 4) for the annual Battle for the Old Red Lantern.  Denison (5-3, 4-3 NCAC) has won retained the trophy in each of the last two seasons since taking it back in 2014.