GEORGETOWN, Texas-- A year ago, it was Denison quarterback Canaan Gebele who ran wild for 146 yards and four rushing touchdowns in a 42-31 season-opening win over Southwestern.
This year, Southwestern quarterback Frederick Hover returned the favor with four touchdowns, two on the ground and two through the air, to lead the Pirates to a 42-21 victory over the Big Red from Bircklebach Field in Georgetown, Texas.
Denison took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter thanks to an 8-yard touchdown run by Alex Minton which capped off a 5-play 38-yard drive.
Early in the second quarter, the Denison defense forced Southwestern to punt on 4th and 21 from their own 38-yard line. The punt was muffed by the Big Red and recovered by Clay Anthony deep in Denison territory. Two plays later, Kalon Heim scored from 9-yards to tie the game at 7-7.
The big plays kept coming for Southwestern as Hover hooked up with Heim on a 70-yard scoring pass on the first play of the drive, giving Southwestern a 14-7 lead with 7:38 remaining in the first half.
On first down from midfield, Gebele's pass was intercepted by Rosario Hernandez on the 12-yard line. Hover and company went to work on a 9-play 88-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard scoring plunge by the junior signal caller.
Trailing 21-7 at halftime, Denison responded with a methodical 14-play 75-yard drive that chewed up the first 7:06 of the third quarter. Minton ended the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run while accounting for 31 yards during the drive.
On Southwestern's ensuing drive Hover made the play of the night as he sucked in the Denison defense and fed the option pitch at the last possible second to Heim who went 25-yards for the score, pushing Southwestern's lead back to 14.
Denison had one last gasp after Gebele connected with Malik Webster in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown on 4th and 9. Trailing 35-21, the Big Red defense got a quick three-and-out and with 6:10 left the DU offense went to work driving to the SU 11-yard line. On 4th and five with the game in the balance, Gebele hit Minton on a swing pass. Minton was met right at the first down marker but officials signaled a turnover on downs without a measurement.
A late touchdown by the Pirates on their ensuing drive set the final score at 42-21.
Gebele was 18-fo-31 for 187 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He carried the ball 17 times for 53 yards. Minton led all rushers with 100 yards and two TD's on 20 carries. David Weimar led the receivers with eight grabs for 78 yards.
Hover finished with 175 yards passing on only five completions. He carried the ball 29 times for a net of 74 yards. Subtract -61 yards that came on sacks and Hover gained 135 yards on the ground.
Denison is idle next week and will return to action on Sept. 15 when they host Allegheny at 1 p.m.