Franklin 23, Bluffton 9
Beavers push Franklin in 23-9 loss to #21 Grizzlies
November 3, 2012
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Beavers held their own with #21 ranked Franklin College on Saturday, Nov. 3, but the Grizzlies overcame two late turnovers deep in their own territory en route to a 23-9 victory. Bluffton moved to 5-4 on the season with a 4-3 mark in the Heartland Conference, while Franklin improved to 7-2 overall and 7-0 in the HCAC with its 25th straight conference victory.
Franklin got on the board early when quarterback Jonny West found Kyle Linville for a six-yard touchdown pass to cap the home team's first drive of the afternoon. Buffton controlled the action for most of the first half (21:05-8:55) before Tyler Wright (Troy) found the end zone on an eight-yard rush with 14 seconds remaining in the second quarter to tie the score at 6-6 going to the break. A missed extra point by the visitors kept Bluffton from becoming the first HCAC team to hold any lead against the 'Griz' this season.
Franklin opened the second half with an 11 play, 4:17 drive and took the lead (9-6) with a Cole Richards 21-yard field goal. The home team extended that lead 10 minutes later when Sam Otley punched it in from a yard out. The extra point made the score 16-6 in favor of the Grizzlies.
Austin Sweeney (Adrian Mich./Whitmer) hit a 36-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter, pulling the Beavers within seven (16-9), but Franklin was able to hold off Bluffton despite a Derek Woods (Springfield/South) interception late in the third period and a Grizzly fumble at the home 33-yard line less than four minutes later. Franklin salted it away with a 15-play, 94-yard drive (7:16) that Otley once again finished with a 1-yard plunge to paydirt.
Wright led the Bluffton offense, completing 12-of-18 passes for 140 yards and scoring Bluffton's touchdown on an eight-yard rush. Senior Ryan Sabin (Canal Winchester) caught four of those passes for 30 yards.
Josh Runda (Lima/Bath) led the way on the defensive side of the ball with seven solo and 11 total tackles. Justin Hahn (Rocky River) pitched in with eight solo and 10 total tackles and a fumble recovery, while Jeff Parker (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) tallied eight tackles and he forced a fumble.
Both teams converted on just five third down opportunities as the Beavers were 5-of-16, compared to 5-of-12 for Franklin. Franklin cashed in on 4-of-5 tries in the red zone, including three touchdowns. Bluffton was 2-for-2 in the red zone with one touchdown. The home team finished with a marked 390-194 advantage in total yardage, with much of that difference coming from 15 Franklin tackles-for-loss of 74 yards. The Grizzlies sacked Bluffton 11 times for 69 yards.
The Beavers will wrap up the season next Saturday, Nov. 10, at home against rival Defiance College. The battle for 'The Hammer' is slated for 1:30 p.m in Salzman Stadium. Bluffton will be looking to finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2000.