/seasons/2013/contrib/20131012wzzo74

Tigers Pull Away From Denison For Homecoming Victory

More news about: Wittenberg

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Wittenberg Tigers overcame a slow start to pull away from Denison for a 38-20 Homecoming Weekend victory.

Playing before a boisterous crowd numbering more than 4,000, the Tigers improved to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). Denison, which was off to its best start since 1986 with four wins in its first five games, fell to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the league. The Big Red have not beaten Wittenberg since 1989, the Tigers' first season in the NCAC.

Unlike many of the games between the two teams over the last two decades, this one was a back-and-forth struggle until the fourth quarter. Denison controlled the ball for more than 34 minutes in the game, utilizing a short passing game to effectively put together long drives - especially in the first half.

The Big Red capitalized on the first of three Wittenberg turnovers to jump on top with a field goal at 7:40 of the first quarter, but the Tigers responded with a 73-yard touchdown strike from senior quarterback Reed Florence (South Charleston, Ohio/Southeastern) to senior wide receiver Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) less than a minute later.

In the second quarter, Denison again struck first, this time on a 52-yard punt return by Colin Morris, only to have the Tigers come up with a quick reply as sophomore Evan Grissom (Piqua, Ohio/Piqua) drilled a 30-yard field goal and senior cornerback Victor Banjo (Sugarland, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) blocked a punt to set up a touchdown pass from Florence to junior wideout Zac Wilson (Eaton, Ohio/Eaton) covering three yards.

A total of 31 points were scored over the final 7:32 of the second quarter, capped by Cunningham's second TD reception of the game that trailed Morris' second score.

Denison scored the only points of the third quarter on a field goal, but Cunningham and Florence hooked up again to finally give the Tigers some breathing at the 13:50 mark of the fourth quarter. Wittenberg put the finishing touches on the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore tailback Sean Gary (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central).

For the game, Wittenberg outgained Denison by a healthy margin of 480-301, but the Big Red actually held a 23-20 edge in first downs, in addition to their aforementioned advantage in time of possession. Denison also held a 3-1 edge in the turnover margin, as the Tigers fumbled once and had two passes intercepted in the end zone.

Wittenberg, which also was penalized a whopping 14 times for 118 yards, overcame the miscues with an outstanding second-half defensive performance and a passing attack that racked up 351 yards. Cunningham piled up six catches for 136 yards, Wilson added five receptions for 105 yards and senior Desi Kirkman (Lima, Ohio/Central Catholic) chipped in with three catches for 92 yards.

Florence finished 16-of-22 through the air for 351 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, four Tigers reached double figures in tackles, led by senior linebacker Spencer Leno (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) with 13 to go along with two passes broken up. Junior linebacker Nick Gibson (Marysville, Ohio/Fairbanks) added 12 stops and a forced fumble, while senior linebacker Evan Killilea (Columbus, Ohio/DeSales) finished with 11 and sophomore defensive tackle Josh Bannick (Enon, Ohio/Greenon) contributed 10.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
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Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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