It was a tough day all around for the Allegheny Gators’ offense, leading to good field position for Denison early and often.
On Saturday night at Frank B. Fuhrer Field, Denison rolled to a 42-7 win over Allegheny in a North Coast Athletic Conference football game.
“It’s hard to take away anything positive,” said Allegheny head coach Rich Nagy. “I thought our defense battled for a period of time.
“We just had to have better body language and more fight to us because I think things were starting to go a little wrong and we just had to make sure that we fought through some things and didn’t quit playing.”
Denison moves up to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in NCAC play. Allegheny drops to 0-4 and 0-3 in the NCAC.
Denison got rolling immediately when Drew Dawkins found a wide open Peyton Vining by the left sideline. Vining found space and made a few guys miss to get the 6-0 lead for the Big Red. A fake field goal run by Brendan Boyle boosted the lead to 8-0.
With Nazareth Greer banged up after last week, Jack Parker got his first start for the Gators. Parker went 0-for-3 and took a sack in his limited time at quarterback.
“Naz got hurt last week and we went in trying to hold him (from playing), but he was basically cleared two days ago,” said Nagy. “Jack had a great week, made a couple misreads early in the game and Naz was there. And like I said, when Naz is healthy, he’s a really good player. Not to take anything from Jack, but (Greer) has a bit more experience right now.”
The Gator defense buckled down and kept Denison off the scoreboard for the rest of the first. The Big Red drove down into Gators’ territory, but the drive was cut short at the Gator 10. Dawkins dove forward for extra yardage, but linebacker Corey Laskey poked the ball loose and Chase Balla was there to recover it. Laskey kept busy and finished the game with 20 tackles, a feat last achieved by Andy Tonor back in 2007. It is tied for the fifth-most tackles in a single-game in Gators history.
“I think our defense is getting better. I know the points don’t show it today,” said Nagy. “I think that we’re making some strides, we still make some bonehead plays at certain points and times, but it’s a group that’s growing up and is very young.”
However, the Gator offense couldn’t get much going throughout the half. They had just four first downs and 39 yards of total offense on 33 plays. Denison eventually broke the game open in the second quarter.
After a Pat Kramer 42-yard field goal made it 11-0, Denison exploded for two more scores before halftime.
With 2:47 to play in the half, Dawkins found Dallas Griffiths in the flat for the 18-0 lead.
After another Gators three-and-out, Denison marched down the field again with Alex Minton tucking the ball down and rushing for a 25-yard score to make it 25-0 at the break.
“(Denison’s) a good football team. Their defense is exceptional,” said Nagy. “It is what it is and right now hen we play good football teams and we don’t play well, it’s not going to be good so we got to do a better job.”
The frustrating day continued on into the second half as Denison tacked on a two-yard touchdown run by Minton, a 35-yard field goal by Pat Kramer, and then a seven-yard TD trot by Dara Laja.
Eventually, the Gators’ offense found the end zone with 7:35 to play. Greer found Ben Bachik in stride and the receiver broke through a few tackles and stretched across the line for six.
When all was said and done, Denison tallied 26 first downs to just 11 for the Gators and out-gained Allegheny 404-201.
For Denison, Dawkins went 15-for-30 for 178 yards with two TDs and an interception. Minton led the ground game with 84 yards and two scores.Vining tallied 83 yards on five catches with a touchdown.
Greer led Allegheny in passing and rushing. He went 9-for-19 for 140 yards and a touchdown pass. He rushed the ball five times for 34 yards. Bachik racked up 53 yards on three catches with a touchdown reception.