Section: Football

Despite close first half, Lords’ miscues loom large in loss

Despite close first half, Lords’ miscues loom large in loss

Photo: Kenyon trailed by just seven at halftime, but later allowed the game to slip away. | SEJIN KIM/KENYON SID/NCAA

After collecting back-to-back wins, Kenyon’s football team fell in lopsided fashion to Denison University, 45-7. Despite a tightly contested first half, the Lords were not able to contain Denison’s offense and failed to build momentum in the second half. 

Denison deferred the coin toss, and Kenyon’s opening drive resulted in a punt. Taking over at their own 32-yard line, the Big Red then began their first drive of the game. Kenyon’s defense was able to hold strong and limit Denison to a field goal attempt, but, after a roughing the kicker penalty on the Lords, Denison drew first blood on a rushing touchdown. 

In the second quarter, Dension was again able to convert a Kenyon punt into a touchdown after receiving the ball at Kenyon’s 46-yard line. The five-play drive concluded with a 10-yard reception and the extra point to put the Big Red up 14-0 with just over three minutes left in the half. 

The Lords were able to find some success of their own after defensive back Jaylen Cardoso ’24 intercepted a Denison pass at the Lords’ 25-yard line. On 3rd and 6, quarterback Ryan O’Leary ’23 found wide receiver Finn Murray ’23 for a 70-yard touchdown pass. After struggling to generate much offense in the first half, O’Leary felt the play came at a perfect time. “The pass was a good momentum boost for the team going into the half; our coaches had the right call, the offensive line and running back allowed for great protection and time and the receivers ran their routes to set up the play perfectly,” he said. “Finn did a great job of getting open and finishing the play.”

Down 14-7, there was a sense of a shift in momentum heading into the second half. “At halftime, the team was feeling ready for the second half. We planned to come out and come back,” O’Leary said. On Denison’s opening drive to open the third quarter, Kenyon’s defense delivered, limiting Denison to a field goal. Unfortunately, the rest of the second half was not as kind to the Lords. The following drive from Kenyon was stymied by two sacks and multiple penalties, resulting in a punt. 

“The defense did their job to limit the drive to a field goal, but, through some unfortunate events, we were unable to capitalize on the preceding drive,” O’Leary said. “There seemed to be a momentum switch as we drove, and it, unfortunately, was stalled by penalties.” On Denison’s next drive, the Big Red was able to stretch their lead even further, while also taking four minutes off the play clock. 

The fourth quarter was a similar struggle for the Lords. After trading punts to start the quarter, Denison scored on a 54 yard receiving touchdown. Following the score, a Lords turnover on downs gave Denison possession at Kenyon’s 46-yard line. The Big Red scored again through the air on the next play, before concluding their scoring with a touchdown off of a Lords fumble. With the score at 45-7, AJ Allen ’22 replaced O’Leary as quarterback to finish the game. Kenyon ended the game with 192 total yards to Denison’s 454 yards. 

Heading into their game in Springfield, Ohio against Wittenberg University, the Lords will look for their first win against the Tigers, who have won the last nine  matchups between the two teams. “Going into Wittenberg, we’re able to take many lessons from the last game,” O’Leary said. “We are looking to use what we believe to be our strengths in this upcoming game and using the last game to learn what we need to fix and work to perfect them for the future.”


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