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Wabash Rolls in NCAC Opener at Denison

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GRANVILLE, OH. - Wabash's young and fast defense gave up a few yards but no points Saturday in a 35-2 North Coast Athletic Conference opener at Denison. The Little Giants (2-0) picked off four passes and sacked the Big Red quarterback seven times to stifle the 0-2 hosts in their home opener.

The Big Red offense moved the ball at times but turned the ball over or succumbed to the Little Giants smothering defense. Besides the four interceptions and seven sacks, Denison also fumbled the ball over two times.

"Our defense gave up some yards but then came up with the stops when we needed it," Coach Erik Raeburn said. "The defense just did a great job again of keeping them out of the end zone and did a great job on creating turnovers."

Sophomore linebacker Cody Buresh had one of the biggest games of his career. Buresh was credited with 11 tackles, forcing a fumble, and 3.5 quarterback sacks.

The Michigan native said there was no special motivation after a lackluster season opener at Hanover.

"It was the same motivation as always and that's to go out there and do what we do," Buresh said. "Today it looked like Wabash football again. Last week we were off a little bit, maybe it was first game jitters. But everything was cooking today, it was just a blast."

Raeburn said Buresh is simply a fantastic football player. "He's really a good player and does a great job of rushing the passer as well," the coach said. "We can use him as sort of a hybrid outside linebacker, or rush end guy. Cody was really solid today but so was our entire defense."

The Little Giants got on the board late in the first period thanks to CP Porter. After a Chase Belton pass to tight end Darren Bost 13-yard connection, Porter broke around end for 32 yards. On the very next play, Porter went up the middle for 12 yards and the score, 7-0.

Belton had a seven yard run and a score later in the quarter to push the halftime margin to 14-2. Denison got its only points of the game pressuring Belton in the end zone and getting an intentional grounding call to net the two points.

Wabash took control in the third with two scores. Newcomer Jon Laird took a short pass from Belton midway through the quarter and turned it into a 70-yard score, 21-2. Things went south for Denison on the ensuing kickoff which was fumbled and recovered by Wabash freshman Mason Zurek.

Wabash took advantage of the short field and scored on a nifty misdirection play. Belton found Andrew Gibson breaking to the left side of the end zone and hit him with an over-the-shoulder score, 28-2.

The defense created another opportunity following a Jonathan Koop pick. Mixing the pass and run, senior running back Vann Hunt capped the 12-play, 52 yard drive with a 3-yard TD run.

Belton had an efficient day hitting on 17 of 30 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Afterwards, the senior quarterback lauded the improved play over the previous week.

"We have a lot of young guys out there this year," Belton acknowledged. "Last week we were grinding and had a few mistakes and a few mental mistakes here and there – and that's part of the game. We definitely came out sharper this week. I'm very proud of how our offense responded, especially in the second half. We came out and we got moving."

The Little Giants had a more effective running game Saturday with 126 yards. Porter's 50 topped five Wabash ball carriers. Denison accumulated 95 yards, with standout back Sam Fioroni getting 82 of the total.

Belton really spread the ball around against the Big Red defense. Eight different pass catchers did so with Jon Laird compiling 82 yards on 3 balls. Running back Troy Meyers had the most receptions with four out of the backfield and 29 yards. Andrew Gibson caught three passes for 34 while freshman Bost had two catches for 35 yards.

Buresh's monster game topped all Little Giant defenders. Austin Hodges had his second straight two interception game. Linebacker Nate Scola continued his big comeback from a knee injury notching nine stops. Denzel Wilkins and Koop had eight stops apiece.

Freshman Tyler McCullen has started both games and made a big impact at Denison with three tackles and 2.5 quarterback sacks. So far the 18 year old hasn't felt many nerves.

"I may have been a little nervous last week but I try to keep calm and keep my composure," the Arizona recruit said. "I just try to get the first series out of the way and focus in. From week to week, I just feel more confident and more comfortable."

The Little Giants will finally get to play in front of their always raucous home crowd Saturday when Allegheny (1-1) visits for Community Day.

Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Recap Photos Box Score
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio Tickets
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Husson at Delaware Valley
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live stats Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
Trine at Wartburg
Video Live stats
Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Muhlenberg 32, at Carnegie Mellon 6
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 21, Widener 7
Video Box Score
Final
Susquehanna 28, at Albright 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Framingham State 48, Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
Cortland 35, at Union 28
Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Recap Photos Box Score
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Final
at Ithaca 27, Salisbury 17
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at WPI 17, SUNY-Maritime 3
Box Score Recap
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
Final
at Alfred 29, Stevenson 16
@ University of Delaware
Video Box Score Recap