Franklin vs. Bluffton

The Grizzly defensive line attempts to halt a Bluffton player. Fans packed the stadium to watch the energetic competition.

The Franklin College Grizzlies (1-2) dominated on Saturday in one of their best performances so far this season, winning 45-6 against the Bluffton Beavers (1-2). 

Head Coach Alan Hensell said it always feels great to win a homecoming game. He said the pressure from the alumni event didn’t have much to do with the results, but it’s “always beneficial to play in front of a homecoming crowd.”

The Grizzlies charged down field on their first possession, but Bluffton’s defense held them up in the red zone. After a “roughing the holder” penalty on third-and-7 put Franklin at a disadvantage, the team settled for a 37-yard field goal, putting them up 3-0.

At the start of the second quarter, Franklin overcame a false start to score the first touchdown of the game. Spencer Wright found Dylan Mckinney, who completed a 26-yard touchdown that raised the score to 10-0.

Franklin continued to stretch their lead after Garret Cora rushed for a 14-yard touchdown, putting them up 17-0.

With three minutes left in the 2nd quarter, the Beavers fumbled the ball on first-and-5. Tanner Swindle grabbed hold of the ball and rushed it down field for a 55-yard touchdown, expanding Franklin’s lead to 24 over Bluffton’s 0.

Michael Heading picked up Bluffton’s fumbled ball on the quarter-starting kickoff return. Garrett Cora caught a pass by Dane Andrews and scored a 38-yard touchdown for Franklin for a 31-0 lead.

A 50-yard rush by Derek Thompson put the Grizzlies in familiar territory in Bluffton’s redzone. This opened the door for a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Cameron Johnson.

On the first play of Bluffton’s next drive, Nick Winders intercepted the ball, and ran for 31-yards. The Grizzlies attempted to move down field, but Bluffton held strong. A “roughing the passer” penalty on the Beavers saved Franklin’s drive on fourth-down and allowed Garrett Cora to rush into the endzone for the sixth touchdown of the day, boosting the lead to 45 points.

Bluffton’s Montez Archer Jr. ran a 75-yard kickoff return into the endzone, but the missed extra point attempt kept the score at 45-6 which lasted until the final buzzer.

After a rough start to the season, Franklin had to change their strategy to find the success they found Saturday.

“We really had to go back to the drawing board,” Hensell said. 

Hensell still sees areas that need improvement, citing Bluffton’s lone touchdown as an example. He said they shouldn’t have allowed them to score on the kickoff return, although it was a good run by Bluffton.

Franklin College will be on the road the next two weeks before playing their final home game against Rose-Hulman at 1:30 pm on November 6.

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