Franklin vs. Bluffton preview
When: Saturday, November 5, 2005 at 1:00 p.m.
Where: Franklin, Indiana - "Red" Faught Stadium
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM.
Bluffton University (3-5, 2-2) fell to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leading Mount St. Joseph (7-1, 4-1) 56-14 on Saturday, October 29 at Salzman Stadium. Franklin College (3-5, 1-3) lost to Defiance College on October 29 by a final score of 38-23.
The Head Coaches
Head coach Greg Brooks is in his third season at the helm of the Bluffton University
football team. Brooks' teams have collected ten wins during his tenure as head coach
of the Beavers. Prior to assuming the head coaching duties at Bluffton, Brooks was
the quarterbacks' coach and offensive coordinator for the Beavers.
Franklin College is led by Mike Leonard who is in his third season as the head coach of the Grizzlies. He is a graduate of Hanover College where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1984. Leonard served as an assistant coach at Hanover twice, including a stint as the offensive coordinator from 1999-2002 during which the Panthers ranked among the top Division III teams nationally in offensive production. The Grizzlies have steadily improved in HCAC play since Leonard took over the reigns of the program.
Bluffton-Franklin Series History
Bluffton holds a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series with Franklin. The Grizzlies
knocked off the Beavers by a score of 24-14 in 2004 at Salzman Stadium.
Last Week for the Beavers and Grizzlies
The Beavers struck first in the conference showdown with Mount St. Joseph on October 29, but the Lions rallied to score six consecutive times to take a 42-7 advantage at the end of the first half. Senior tailback Ben Dodds paced the Bluffton offense with 146 yards and both Beaver touchdowns on only 20 carries. Freshman tight end Joel Sienicki brought in three receptions for 72 yards to lead the Bluffton receivers. The Bluffton defense was led by sophomore linebacker Sam McCullough who recorded 16 tackles, including five solos, against the Lions. The Beavers were dominated in all facets of the game as Mount St. Joseph used excellent blocking, long completions and an aggressive defense to put itself in the HCAC driver's seat with only one conference game remaining.
Defiance College stayed in the hunt for the HCAC title with a 38-23 victory over Franklin College on October 29. The Grizzlies led 10-3 after the first quarter, but a 29 point outburst by the Yellow Jackets in the second quarter ended Franklin's hopes for an upset at Defiance. Turnovers hurt the Grizzlies in the first half as Defiance capitalized on two fumble recoveries to put the game out of reach. Franklin narrowed the gap to 35-23 in the second half but it got no closer. Quarterback Ty Fritz completed 18 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Danny Sears hauled in six of those tosses for 87 yards and two touchdowns while running back R.J. Hartsfield finished with six catches for 54 yards. Austin Gorrell led the Grizzly ground game picking up 64 yards on 13 carries.
Last Season's Contest
The Beavers dropped their home finale to Franklin by a final score of 24-14 on November 6, 2004. After a low scoring first half, Franklin outscored the Beavers 3-0, Bluffton blocked a punt early in the third quarter and recovered it in the end zone to take a 7-3. The Grizzlies then scored three consecutive touchdowns to open up a 24-7 advantage early in the fourth quarter. Mark Gable picked up an eight-yard touchdown reception from Tim Koontz in the waning seconds of the game to make the final score 24-14. Bluffton put up 327 yards of total offense, including 198 through the air but it converted on only one of five red-zone opportunities. Ben Dodds went for 139 yards on 26 carries while Gable finished with six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Tim Koontz completed 16 passes for 198 yards.
The Grizzlies balanced offensive attack amassed 344 total yards, including 202 yards passing. Joliba Brogan led the Franklin offense with 14 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Andy Clark completed nine of 17 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown while splitting the snaps with Ty Fritz. Eight Grizzly receivers combined for 15 receptions as Franklin spread the ball around to its many weapons. Joe Neely led the Grizzly defense with 12 tackles, including seven solos.
Leading the Beavers
Senior Ben Dodds leads the Bluffton rushing attack with 172 carries for 989 yards and eight touchdowns. Dodds has 19 catches for 209 receiving yards and a 66-yard touchdown. Junior fullback Ben McCullough has gained 333 yards on 66 carries while reaching the end zone four times. Quarterback Jared Owens has completed 67 passes for 878 yards and five touchdowns while also finding the end zone six times on the ground. One of his favorite targets has been tight end Jeremy Haselman who has hauled in 16 receptions for 203 yards and one touchdown. Aaron Whitlock has six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Bryant has 11 receptions for 172 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore linebacker Sam McCullough leads the Beaver defense with 89 tackles (32 solos,
57 assists), including nine TFL's for a total loss of 21 yards. Sam has forced two
fumbles while also recovering one this season. Junior cornerback Jeremy Anderson has recorded 46 tackles while picking off an HCAC-leading five passes. Sophomore
safety Taylor Iceman has 3 interceptions while senior safety Jon Mershman has two interceptions to go along with his 46 tackles. Senior defensive tackle Rashid Morton and freshman defensive end Kyle Rode lead the Beavers with three sacks apiece.
Next up for the Beavers and the Grizzlies
Bluffton will host Defiance College on Saturday, November 12, 2005. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Franklin travels to Hanover on November 12. The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.