“We finally got them,” said Denison coach Jack Hatem, who’s now in his 12th season with the program, after that victory.
On its next trip to Granville in 2018, Wittenberg won the highest-scoring game in NCAC history, blowing a 35-10 halftime lead but winning 68-66 in four overtimes in Granville.
Denison got its revenge in 2019, winning 24-14 at Edwards-Maurer Field. Denison snapped a 22-game road losing streak to Wittenberg and won in Springfield for the first time since 1952.
The quarterback who started the last game against Wittenberg in 2019, Drew Dawkins, remains the starter in 2021. As a senior, he’s averaging 167.3 passing yards per game and has six touchdown passes and no interceptions.
“He’s a really great athlete,” Fincham said. “Their secondary’s back. They’re all good football players. There are others who are back, too, but a lot of the names have changed since the last time we played. They’re still the same type of Denison team. They’re going to get downhill on you in the run game. They play really hard on defense with great pursuit. They’re well coached. They tackle well. All those things.”
Denison blanked Allegheny 31-0 on Sept. 11. Allegheny played Wabash close the following week before losing 36-28. That game turned late in the third quarter when Wabash returned a blocked extra point 100 yards for a touchdown, breaking a 20-20 tie.
“It’s hard not to look at things like that,” Fincham said. “I fight it all the time, trying not to get caught up in comparing scores, but yeah, it catches your eye for sure.”
This will be the first road game for Wittenberg, which opened the season Sept. 4 with a 38-16 loss to SUNY Cortland and then evened its record at 1-1 with a 51-21 victory against Hiram last weekend.
“The positives outweighed the negatives coming out of it,” Fincham said. “We were a team that needed to get some confidence in itself with the inexperience we have, particularly offensively. It was nice to get out of the gates on both sides of the ball. There are things that we need to do better. We need consistency across the board, and so much of that comes from experience and understanding situations. Guys that have played have a much better ability to anticipate things happening in games, and they just react better to those situations. So right now we’ve just got to continue to grow.”