OBERLIN, Ohio-- Denison outscored Oberlin 35-7 over the final 22 minutes of play resulting in a 52-27 victory by the Big Red over Oberlin on Saturday at the Knowlton Complex.
Denison doubled up Oberlin in time of possession, but the big-play ability of the Yeomen kept them in the game until early in the fourth quarter. Oberlin scored four touchdowns in the game from 78 yards, two from 75 yards and one from 69 yards. Fifty-nine percent of Oberlin's total offense (505 yards) came on four scoring plays.
Denison opened strong, capping a 10-play 74-yards drive on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Canaan Gebele to Hunter Biddle. After Oberlin's next drive stalled on 4th and 5 inside the Denison red zone, Gebele marched the Big Red down the field, on a methodical 14-play 84-yard drive that ended with David Weimar taking the handoff and passing to Gebele from 6-yards on what has become known as the "Philly Special," made famous by the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. It was the first touchdown reception for Gebele and the first passing touchdown for Weimar.
On Oberlin's first play from scrimmage on the next drive, Zach Taylor connected with Ryan Gleeson on a 75-yard touchdown pass, to make it 14-7 in favor of the Big Red.
The Denison defense did clamp down once again as Oberlin pushed the ball to the Denison 17-yard line midway through the second quarter. On 4th and 9, Taylor's pass was broken up by Michael Flanagan, resulting in a turnover on downs. Denison's next drive was another methodical march that covered 69 yards on 15 plays, resulting in a 31-yard field goal by Pat Kramer.
Denison led 17-7 heading into the second half, but Oberlin responded quickly as Taylor hooked up with Gleeson on another 75-yard bomb on the first play of the third quarter. A Denison three-and-out gave Oberlin the ball on the 20-yard line. After a two-yard gain on first down, junior tailback Melvin Briggs sprinted 78 yards for the touchdown, giving Oberlin a 20-17 lead.
The Big Red needed to respond, and they did as Gebele called his own number on 1st and Goal from the 6-yard line for the 26th rushing touchdown of his career. With Denison back in front, 24-20, the tide turned on Oberlin's ensuing possession as Sam Ray intercepted Taylor at midfield. His 18-yard return set up the Denison offense at the Oberlin 32. Five plays later, Alex Minton scored from 4-yards, giving DU an 11-point lead with 4:23 left in the third.
In the fourth, Denison scored on a trio of touchdown passes from Gebele to Minton from 14-yards, C.J. Davis from 4-yards and Weimar from 5-yards. The Yeomen had one last bomb in them as Taylor connected with the burner, Gleeson, on a 69-yard touchdown.
Gleeson totaled 238 receiving yards on only four catches which ranks him third in Oberlin's record book for receiving yards in a single game. Taylor was 12-of-20 for 341 yards and three TDs. Briggs carried the ball eight times for a career-high 118 yards and one touchdown.
Denison was led by Gebele who was 20-for-31 for 239 yards while accounting for six of Denison's seven touchdowns. Gebele threw four touchdown passes, rushed for one and caught one on his busy afternoon. Biddle led all receivers with five receptions for 60 yards and a score. He also had three carries for 34 yards. Minton ran the ball 14 times for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was paced by TJ Gerhardt's nine tackles and one sack. The defending North Coast Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, Nate Keirn, led the way with two sacks and four tackles. Ryan Hallinan had seven stops to go along with a forced fumble and recovery. Ray logged Denison's lone interception in the third.
For Oberlin (1-3, 1-2 NCAC), Von Wooding posted 12 tackles and one sack. Devin Wilkins and Luke Buck followed with 10 tackles apiece.
Denison (2-1, 2-0 NCAC) returns to action next Saturday (Sept. 29) when they host No. 14 Wittenberg at 7 p.m. from Piper Stadium.