At a Glance: Saturday marks the final game of the 2017 regular season for the Denison football team as the Kenyon Lords come to Piper Stadium looking for their first win of the 2017 season. Last week, the Lords lost a hard-fought 37-32 game against DePauw. As for the Big Red, the Old Red Lantern remained in Granville as Denison topped Wooster 36-26 at John P. Papp Stadium in Wooster, Ohio.
How to Watch: Gates to Piper Stadium will open at 11:30 a.m., 90 minutes prior to the scheduled 1 p.m. kickoff. Tickets can be purchased for $4 for adults $2 for students. For those who can't make it to Granville, the Denison Sports Network will begin its live video broadcast at 12:45 p.m., with Will Hibbard (play-by-play) and Benson Anderson (color commentary) calling all of the action.
Denison Dominance: Denison has owned the rivalry with Kenyon, leading the all-time series 43-23-2, highlighted by 11-straight victories dating back to 2006. Kenyon's last victory against the Big Red came in 2005. Last year, the Big Red handed the Lords a 41-12 defeat at McBride Field.
Nothing to Lose: Despite Denison's success in the series and Kenyon's winless season thus far, the Lords feature a dynamic passing offense and have been involved a number of close games. Senior QB Thomas Merkle has totaled 2,748 passing yards on the season, the 12th most in Division III football. The York, Pa. native has completed 282-of-456 passes (61.8%) and has thrown for 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Lords have lost each of their last five games by 10 points or fewer, including a 23-21 loss to Ohio Wesleyan on October 7, and a 62-56 loss to Hiram the following week. There will be no shortage of emotion and offense as the Big Red average nearly 34 points per game, and the Lords come in averaging nearly 26 per game.
It's how you finish: Through the first nine games of the season, the Big Red have outscored their opponents a combined 92-45 in the fourth quarter. Last week, Denison outscored Wooster 20-12 in the final period. This year the Big Red is a perfect 7-0 when outscoring their opponents in the fourth quarter. This stat should be key this Saturday, as the Big Red face a Kenyon defense that allows 44.8 points per game, ranking 229th out of 243 Division III teams.
Approaching Accolades: Last week against Wooster, Denison QB Canaan Gebele passed for 212 yards, moving him into sole possession of 3rd place on Denison's all-time passing yards list. Next on the list is Greg Neuendorf, who passed for 6,440 yards from 1999-2001. Denison's all-time leader is Max Paulus, who from 2009-2012 threw for 6,545 yards. Barring an injury, Gebele has a great chance to become the all-time leader next season. Another Big Red player with a mark in his sights is RB Alex Minton, who needs 190 yards to become the 15th Denison player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. The last player to do so was Sam Fiorini when he rushed for 1,225 yards in 2012.
Senior Success: Saturday's senior day marks the final game at Deeds Field for the 15 members of the Class of 2018. With a win this week against Kenyon, this senior class will have 28 wins under their belt, tying them with the Class of 2017 as the winningest senior class since the Class of 1986, who won 33 games.
Four for 4: A victory by Denison today would mark a four-game winning streak for the Big Red, making it four consecutive seasons in which Denison has enjoyed a winning streak of four games or more.
By Will Hibbard
Denison Athletics Communications Assistant