GRANVILLE, OHIO — The Hiram College football team was defeated by Denison Univeristy, 42-14, tonight (Saturday, Sept. 17) in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Deeds-Piper Stadium in Granville. [Game Stats]
With the loss, the Terriers are now 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the NCAC. The Big Red improve to 2-1 overall and 1-0 NCAC.
Hiram received the opening kickoff and moved the ball deep into Denison territory, but the drive would stall forcing a 35-yard field goal attempt by freshman kicker Greg Klisuric (Mentor) which was blocked by the Big Red keeping the game scoreless. The Terriers got the ball back on a Denison fumble, but would return the favor on their ensuing possession which led to the first score of the game by Denison’s Steven Lilley on a 14-yard pass play to give the Big Red a 7-0 lead. Denison cashed in on another Hiram turnover later in the quarter with a seven-yard TD completion from Max Paulus to Sam Fioroni that resulted in a 14-0 Big Red lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Denison blew the game open with a pair of scores on a one-yard TD run and a 10-yard TD completion to Lilley to make the score 28-0 at the 4:54 minute mark. Hiram got on the board on its ensuing possession thanks to a 54-yard pass play from sophomore quarterback Brandon Hanna (Ashtabula/Lakeside) to sophomore wide receiver Richard Simpson (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) narrowing the gap to 28-7. Hiram found the endzone one more time before the end of the half on a two-yard TD completion to senior wideout Shaun Zalewski (Cleveland/St. Edward) that capped a nine-play, 63-yard drive and cut the deficit in half 28-14 at the break.
Late in the third quarter, Hiram would recover a fumble by Denison on a punt that gave the Terriers the ball at the Big Red 33-yard line and a chance to make it a one-possession game. But the drive stalled and the Terriers attempted a long field goal that was blocked as neither team scored in the period, keeping the deficit at 28-14 heading into the final quarter.
Denison looked to put the game away early in the fourth quarter as Fioroni scampered 28 yards to the record the first points for either team since the end of the first half and extend the lead to 35-14 with 12:21 left in the game. The Big Red recorded their final score of the game later in the period on a Denison fumble inside the Hiram five-yard line and was recovered by the Big Red and taken the rest of the way by Lucas Graham as Denison went on to capture a 42-14 victory.
Denison tallied 484 yards of total offense (327 rushing and 157 passing) and was led by Fioroni who rushed for 213 yards on 26 carries and a TD. He also caught one pass for seven yards and a score. Paulus completed 13-of-16 passes for 104 yards and three TD. Braden Layer led the Big Red receivers with four catches for 73 yards. Defensively Alex Sycher made a game-high 12 tackles and Drew Clanin added 11 stops.
Hiram ended the game with 359 yards of offense (118 rushing and 241 passing). Hanna completed 30-of-51 passes for 241 yards and a pair of TD. He was also the team’s leading rusher carrying the ball 21 times for 89 yards. Simpson led all receivers with game-highs of nine catches for 110 yards and a TD. Defensively, senior linebacker Steve Brown (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) tallied a team-high nine tackles.
Hiram will travel to Oberlin for a NCAC matchup against Oberlin College next Saturday, Sept. 24. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.