Franklin 21, Bluffton 20
By Ben Risinger, SID
November 1, 2003
BLUFFTON, OHIO - Even with holding the ball twice as long as the Grizzles and going 5-of-5 in fourth down conversions, the Bluffton College Beavers (2-6, 0-4 HCAC) dropped an extremely close, HCAC matchup 21-20 to Franklin College (2-6, 2-2 HCAC).
Both teams entered the contest with very close statistics, looking for a good game and that is what the fans got as the score would tick tock back and forth between the two teams. Bluffton started the scoring with 8:15 left in the first quarter when Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) posted a 2-yard run for the touchdown. Backup kicker Eric Carrion (Powell/Olentangy) would post his first PAT to make the score 7-0. Four minutes later the Grizzlies would answer right back to tie the game at seven apiece.
Dodds would take the ball in to the endzone again in the second quarter off a 1-yard run to go up 14-7 (Carrion kick). The Beavers would go into halftime with a 14-7 lead in the game. But, as with the first touchdown, Franklin scored again with six minutes left in the third to tie the game again, 14-14. Less than two minutes later Dodds would post his third rushing touchdown of the game to let the Beavers go up 20-14 (Carrion kick failed). One more Grizzly touchdown in the middle of the fourth would end the scoring drives and the game 21-20.
Bluffton led the board on minutes and first downs (22). The Beavers went 9-of-18 for third down conversions and 5-of-5 for fourth down conversion on the contest. Hurting the Beavers had to be penalties (9 for 80 yards) compared to Franklin penalties (5 for 38 yards). Franklin would post 360 total yards (39 rushing, 321 passing), compared to Bluffton's 331 (170 rushing, 161 passing) on the day. Franklin posted four sacks for the day for a total of 28 yards lost, compared to the lone Beaver sack by Rashid Morton (Detroit, Mich.) for 13 yards lost.
Individually, Dodds led the Beavers with 105 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He also threw in three catches for 14 yards from the air. Quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) went 22-16-0 in the air for 161 yards. Owens also had 19 rushes for 49 yards on the ground. Receivers Mark Gable (Alvordton/Hilltop) and Bill Fisher (Oregon/Clay) posted five catches each. Gable had 63 yards and Fisher posted 60 yards for the contest. Chris Sommers (Delphos/Jefferson) led the defense attack with 11 total tackles (6 solo, 5 assisted). Punter Tim Berta (Ida, Mich./Ida) had three punts on the day for 113 yards, averaging 37.7 ypk.
Bluffton will be back in action next weekend for their last home contest of the 2003 campaign against Manchester. Franklin will travel to Anderson. Kickoff for both games is scheduled for 1 p.m.