Rout of Wooster gives Denison a chance for conference title

Alex Minton  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Alex Minton | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  Canaan Gebele accounted for 409 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns as Denison rolled to a convincing 66-18 victory over the College of Wooster in the 24th Old Red Lantern game.  The win pushes Denison's record to 7-2 overall.  A win next week at Kenyon would secure at least a share of the program's first North Coast Athletic Conference championship since 1986.

After Wooster scored on its opening possession of the contest, Denison responded with 45 unanswered points to blow the game wide open early in the third quarter.

On a day when Denison recognized its largest senior class in the history of the program, it is fitting that Gebele played his signature game for the Big Red.  The All-American candidate started things off with touchdown runs of one and five yards.  Late in the second quarter, he found his favorite target, David Weimar, on a 28-yard touchdown pass.  The Denison offense continued to show its versatility when Hunter Biddle took the jet sweep handoff from Gebele, pitched to Weimar who threw his second touchdown pass of the year to Gebele from 5-yards out, sending Denison into halftime with a 31-6 lead.

In the third quarter, Denison outscored the Scots 21-6 thanks to a 14-yard TD catch by Cody Farley, a 7-yard touchdown run by Gebele, his third rushing TD of the contest, and 25-yard scoring strike from Gebele to Weimar.

Gebele's day ended early in the fourth when he connected with C.J. Davis on an 11-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 13-play 80-yard drive that chewed up 8:40 on the clock.

Gebele was 19-of-23 passing for 284 yards and four touchdown passes.  He carried the ball 15 times for 120 yards and three scores.  His eighth touchdown came through the air on the pass from Weimar. Gebele was responsible for eight touchdowns and that is the most on record in a single-game in Denison football history.  He also moved closer to the 10,000 yards of total offense milestone. He enters next week with 9.781 yards of total offense in his career.

Alex Minton finished with 20 carries for 131 yards as he pushed his season rushing total to 1,164 yards, which ranks fifth in Denison history. He needs only 21 yards to move pas Ed Exler (1,184 yards) into fourth place and (62 yards) to move past Sam Fioroni (1,225 yards) and into third place.  Clay Sampson is Denison's single-season rushing leader with 1,517 yards in 1979.

Through the air, Weimar was brilliant as he hauled in 11 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns.  He surpassed 2,000 career receiving yards in the first half and is one touchdown catch shy of tying his season-best total (10) set in 2016.

The Denison defense held Wooster to 333 yards for the game and 258 yards after the Scots' opening 75-yard touchdown drive.  Ryan Zinkula led the defense with seven tackles.  Andrew Smith followed with six stops.  The Fighting Scots totaled only 54 offensive plays, compared to 80 for the Big Red.  DU more than doubled up Wooster in time of possession (42-18) and the Big Red offense was a perfect 7-for-7 in the red zone.

This was the 24th Old Red Lantern game and Denison retained, pulling ahead in the series, 12-11-1.

Denison will travel to Kenyon College next Saturday (Nov. 10) with a conference championship and a potential NCAA postseason berth on the line.  Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m.