Bluffton vs. Franklin football preview
When: Saturday, September 30, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Franklin, Indiana - Stewart "Red" Faught Stadium
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM.
Bluffton University enters Heartland Conference action after picking up its first win of 2006 in the Beavers' home opener on Sept. 23 versus Kalamazoo. The Grizzlies sport a spotless 3-0 record after a 5-5 finish a year ago.
The Head Coaches
Greg Brooks enters his fourth year at the helm of the Bluffton University football team. The Beavers have accumulated an 11-22 mark during Brooks' tenure as the head coach. Brooks previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bluffton, leading the Beavers to their best offensive seasons in school history. Prior to taking over the reins of the football program, Brooks was the head baseball coach at Bluffton.
Grizzly head coach Mike Leonard is entering his fourth season at Franklin College. Leonard, a graduate of and assistant coach at Hanover College, maintains the Franklin penchant for throwing the football. He still uses much of the offensive playbook from "Red" Faught who led the Grizzlies for 32 years while incorporating a run-and-shoot offense that likes to air out the football.
Bluffton-Franklin Series History
The Beavers hold a slim 5-4 advantage in the all-time series with Franklin, however, the Grizzlies have been victorious in the last three contests, including a 24-21 win at Franklin in 2005. Bluffton won four consecutive contests between 1999-2002.
Last Season's Contest
The Bluffton University football team (3-6, 2-3 HCAC) lost a close game to the Franklin College Grizzlies (4-5, 2-3 HCAC) by a final score of 24-21 on Saturday, November 5, 2005.
Bluffton jumped out to an early 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game when it took only four plays to convert on the fumble caused by sophomore defensive end Cody Walters (Pataskala/Licking Heights). Junior tight end Jeremy Haselman (Leipsic/Leipsic) picked up his second touchdown of the year on a 15-yard toss from senior quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview). The Grizzlies used great field position following a Bluffton fumble and a blocked field goal attempt to take a 14-7 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half. Ben McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) capped a nine-play, 68-yard drive with a two-yard scoring run late in the first half to send the Beavers into halftime tied at 14.
The Beavers used a defensive stand on Franklin's first possession of the second half
to set up their third score of the day. Bluffton took over in Franklin territory and
promptly marched 48 yards in only five plays, including a 27-yard Owens scoring run,
to go up 21-14 early in the third quarter. That lead was short lived as Danny Sears returned the Seth Burkholder (Bluffton/Bluffton) kickoff 91 yards to knot the score at 21. Another Bluffton fumble
deep in Grizzly territory would be the last chance for the Beavers in the red-zone
as the Franklin defense took over late in the game. Good Grizzly field position allowed
Franklin field goal kicker Beau Zoeller to give his team the victory when he connected from 45 yards out with two minutes
to play in the game.
The Beavers put up 392 total yards of offense, including an outstanding 272 on the ground. They held the Franklin offense to 270 yards, but turnovers cost Bluffton a chance to move to 3-2 in conference play. Senior tailback Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) went over the 1000-yard mark for the second time while at Bluffton as he picked up 93 yards on 18 carries. Owens completed ten passes for 120 yards and one touchdown while also gaining 86 yards on the ground. Sophomore running back Terence Clayton (Napoleon/Napoleon) went for 64 yards on 12 rushes. Haselman caught three passes for 37 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown, to lead the Bluffton receivers. Sophomore Aaron Whiltlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) also hauled in three catches for 34 yards. Sophomore linebacker Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) picked up 12 tackles, including eight solos, while senior defensive tackle Bryan Lloyd (Elida/Bath) recorded two sacks to lead the Bluffton defense.
Leading the Beavers
Freshman running back Andrew Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) leads the Beavers with 160 yards on the ground following his 75-yard, one touchdown performance against Kalamazoo. Senior Jared Owens has completed 38-of-58 passes for 320 yards and one score while also picking up 73 yards and one touchdown rushing. Junior Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) has 15 receptions for 125 yards through the first three games of the season.
Junior linebacker Sam McCullough ranks fourth in the Heartland Conference with 35 tackles. He also had a pass breakup in the Kalamazoo contest. Jeremy Anderson (South Rockwood/Airport High) has 15 tackles and two breakups from his cornerback position while junior safety Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) is second on the Beavers' defense with 23 tackles.
Next up for the Beavers and Grizzlies
The Beavers return to Salzman Stadium where they will host Manchester College on Saturday, October 7, for the 2006 homecoming contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Franklin travels to Anderson to face off against the Ravens on Saturday, October 7, at 1:30 p.m.