DELAWARE, Ohio – Denison football suffered a 19-10 setback to Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at Selby Stadium.
Despite the Big Red outgaining the Bishops offense 424-111 on the afternoon and holding OWU to minus-one yard on the ground, Ohio Wesleyan posted a pair of second-half takeaways and a safety as they held DU scoreless in the final two quarters.
In the second quarter, Denison broke through first in the scoring column when they capitalized on their 58-yard drive with a two-yard tote in the endzone from running back Alex Minton to put the Big Red ahead, 7-0. Not only did Minton's score give Denison the advantage, but it also put him atop Denison's all-time rushing touchdown list for a career with 41 rushing touchdowns over his three years in Granville.
With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, a blocked punt by the Bishops gave OWU the ball deep in Denison territory on the seven-yard line. Three plays later, Zane Ries connected with Justin Lowry for a 19-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter. On the next drive, Denison turned in 12 plays for 50 yards that ended with a 40-yard field goal from Pat Kramer that put DU back in front 10-7 at the half.
Despite Denison's lead at the break, Ohio Wesleyan swung momentum on the opening kickoff of the second half with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Trey Dixon that gave the Bishops a 14-10 lead.
On Denison's next drive, Minton carried the ball seven times for 40 yards and took the Big Red down to OWU's 32-yard line. The next play gave the ball back to the Bishops after Nick Heidel intercepted a pass from Drew Dawkins and cut the DU drive short. The next two Denison drives also resulted in takeaways, including a second blocked-punt from OWU that landed in the endzone and resulted in two points on a safety for the Bishops.
Trailing 19-10 with less than four minutes to play, Dawkins and Minton pushed the ball into OWU territory on both of their final drives, but the Big Red was held short in the final minutes as they fell to 7-2 on the season and 6-2 in conference play. The win sent the Bishops to 7-2 and 6-2 in the NCAC as well, forming a three-way tie for second place in the conference with Denison and Wittenberg.
Minton led the Big Red offense with a career-best 237 yards on 37 carries and a touchdown. He now sits at 1,291 rushing yards on the season, which is fourth-most in Denison history behind his 1,368 yards from last season. He enters next Saturday's contest with 3,660 yards for his career, only 66 yards shy of Clay Sampson (1977-80) for third all-time. Dawkins tallied 191 yards through the air with two interceptions while Peyton Vining and Hunter Biddle led the DU receiving corps with a combined 121 yards.
Andrew Smith led DU's defense with eight tackles and Chris Negrete and Chase Struewing finished with six each. Nate Keirn added 1.5 sacks on the day to bring his season total to 10.5, which ties his single-season record from 2018.
Ries highlighted OWU's offense with 112 passing yards and a touchdown while four Bishops posted 10 or more tackles, including Cody Streit with a game-high 18 tackles.
Denison will close out the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 16 when they host Kenyon College at 1 p.m.