GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Alex Minton rushed for 130 yards and Drew Dawkins passed for 267 yards and four touchdowns in his debut, helping lead Denison to a 42-13 victory over Ohio Northern in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Piper Stadium.
The game was scoreless entering the second quarter but Ohio Northern drew first blood on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Anthony McFadden to Austin Eick after a Denison fumble gave ONU excellent field position deep in Big Red territory.
Denison regrouped and on 3rd and goal from the ONU 19, Dawkins completed a swing pass to Minton who rumbled 19 yards for the touchdown. Pat Kramer's PAT gave the Big Red a 7-6 lead with seven minutes to play in the second quarter. The touchdown gave the offense some confidence, but it also allowed the Big Red defense to dig in its heels.
With DU leading 14-6, Ohio Northern went for it on 4th and 1 from midfield. McFadden barely had time to call his own number before being blown up by Will Brady who forced a fumble that was recovered by Andrew Smith on the ONU 44. On the first play of the drive, Dawkins went deep to Peyton Vining on a 43-yard completion. The next play resulted in another Dawkins to Minton TD pass from 11-yards with 21 seconds left in the first half.
The Polar Bears won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half. Their opening possession of the second half was three-and-out capped off by another sack by Denison's swarming defense.
Denison took over and on 3rd and 9 from their own 37, Dawkins went deep to Vining for a 63-yard touchdown to put the home team on top 28-6.
The Big Red would go on to score 35 unanswered points between the midpoint of the second quarter and the opening minutes of the fourth quarter as Dawkins connected with Dallas Griffiths on a 4-yard scoring strike early in the final period.
ONU stopped the bleeding with a 5-yard touchdown by Anthony McFadden with 11:41 to play but the Big Red responded with a methodical 13-play 80-yard drive that chewed up nearly eight minutes of clock. The drive was capped off by Minton who plunged in from the 1-yard line to put his team up 42-13 with four minutes left.
Minton ran the ball 22 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He also caught seven passes for 83 yards and two scores. Dawkins was 17-of-24 for 267 yards and four TD passes. Vining was the deep threat, catching three passes for 118 yards and a TD. Hunter Biddle also had four grabs for 44 yards.
The defense limited 2017 All-American tailback Christiaan Williams to only 59 yards on 18 carries. McFadden was 9-for-17 for 100 yards passing. The Big Red racked up 14 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks. The 21 plays for a loss accounted for 99 yards of negative yardage for the Polar Bears.
Brady led Denison with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFLs and one forced fumble. Andrew Smith led the team in tackles with eight. Jordan Lobel had seven stops and 1.5 sacks and Chase Struewing tallied seven tackles and one-half sack.
Denison is idle next week and will return to action on Sept. 21 when they host Hiram College at 7 p.m.