On Saturday, the 1-8 (1-6 NCAC) Kenyon football team took on conference foes Denison University (6-3, 5-2 NCAC) at McBride Field in the penultimate game of the 2023 season. After jumping out to an early lead and holding an explosive Big Red team scoreless in the first quarter, the Owls faltered offensively for much of the game and ultimately fell 38-15.
Kenyon’s defense started the game firing on all cylinders, as Matthew Ehrenreich ’27 caught his first collegiate interception on Denison’s first drive of the game. Though the Owls’ first two drives ended in punts, Kenyon still put the first points of the game on the board thanks to its defense. After great punt placement by quarterback Park Penrod ’25, Sam Finnerty ’27 made one of his six tackles of the day, forcing a safety. Then on their next possession, the Owls marched 78 yards down the field and scored their first touchdown of the day, a 35-yard pass from Penrod to Charlie Taylor ’27 to increase their lead to 9-0. To end their fantastic first quarter, Finnerty, Jaylen Cardoso ’24 and Dominic Simpson ’27 all played a part in forcing a Big Red fumble that bounced toward Jackson McCullough ’27, who recovered the ball with 27 seconds left in the frame.
However, Kenyon’s offense was stymied for much of the rest of the game, as Denison opened its account with a second-quarter field goal and then took a lead it would not relinquish after a rushing touchdown to enter halftime up 10-9. After the break, it was more of the same from the Big Red, as they scored four consecutive touchdowns during the third and fourth quarters. Down 38-9 in the fourth frame, the Owls launched a 14-play, 75-yard drive, their final drive of the day. Thanks in part to a roughing the passer penalty that reversed a turnover-on-downs, Kenyon’s drive stayed alive and culminated in a barrelling six-yard touchdown run from Drake Lewis ’25, his fifth of the season. After a failed two-point conversion, time ran out for the Owls and the game ended 38-15 in favor of the Big Red.
Kenyon’s final game of the 2023 season will be on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at McBride Field against Oberlin College. The Owls will be celebrating Senior Day and will be looking to pick up their fourth win over the Yeomen in as many years.