Franklin 63, Bluffton 3
Franklin lives up to pre-season billing in 63-3 win over Bluffton
October 11, 2008
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University football team was dismantled by Franklin College on the Grizzlies' Homecoming by a score of 63-3 on Saturday, October 11, 2008. The Grizzlies improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Heartland Conference while Bluffton fell to 1-4 and 0-2 in the conference.
Franklin sandwiched a pair of touchdown drives around a Bluffton three-and-out on the Grizzlies' first two possessions of the game. The home team used a number of outstanding runners in the backfield and All-American candidate Chad Rupp behind center to put together 63 and 56 yard scoring drives in the first eight minutes of the game.
The home team forced its second straight three-and-out on Bluffton's second possession before a blocked punt that found its way into the end zone allowed Franklin to open up a 21-0 cushion with 5:30 to play in the quarter.
Rupp hooked up with Logan Deffner to start the second stanza as Franklin made it four straight touchdowns to open the contest. A Franklin fumble on their ensuing possession was Bluffton's first stop of the game. The Beavers picked up their initial first down against Franklin midway through the second quarter on a fourth-and-one sneak by Brock Miller (Cincinnati/Oak Hills), but a holding penalty on second down cost Bluffton and eventually forced another punt.
Another scoring drive led by Rupp and Mitch Downs on the ground was capped when Matt Zmich caught a 23-yard scoring strike with 4:56 to play in the period.
Miller found Joel Sienicki (Goshen, Ind./Northridge) for a 20-yard gain on Bluffton's next drive before the Beavers got bogged down again and had to punt. A Franklin fumble recovered by Alex Paul (Akron/Firestone) with 51 seconds to play in the half set up Jonathan Thompson's (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) 37-yard field goal as time expired, cutting the deficit to 35-3 at the break.
Bluffton moved the chains only one time in the third period, on a Franklin holding penalty, while the home team found the end zone two more times in building a 49-3 lead at the end of three quarters.
With Franklin substituting liberally in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies tacked on two more scores, including a second blocked punt which was recovered in the end zone. Bluffton put together its best drive of the day on the Beavers' final possession, going 67 yards on 15 plays, before stalling at the Franklin 13 as time ran out.
The Grizzlies put up 488 yards of total offense, including 246 on the ground, while Bluffton gained a paltry 111 by comparison. The Beavers held the ball for 34:29, nearly 10 minutes more than Franklin, but it was not reflected in the score. Both teams converted on four third downs and the Beavers were 2-of-3 on fourth down tries.
Brock Miller completed 10-of-22 passes for 59 yards before Derek Dunlap (St. Mary's/St. Mary's) came on in the final stanza and went 2-of-7 for 27 yards. Freshman Shane Swisher (Findlay/McComb) hauled in four receptions for a team-high 34 yards. Marshaun Harris (Palm Coast, Fla./Flager Palm Coast) led the Beavers with 23 yards rushing on nine fourth quarter carries.
Twelve Franklin receivers combined for 242 yards as Rupp was an impressive 15-for-21 through the air with three touchdown strikes on the afternoon.
Freshmen Brandon Herr (Bluffton/Bluffton) and Jacob Luthy (Ida, Mich./Ida) racked up seven stops each to pace the Bluffton defense. Mitch Dunlap (St. Mary's/St. Mary's) added five tackles, including four solos.
Bluffton returns to friendly confines of Salzman Stadium for a Heartland Conference contest with Manchester College, a 20-7 winner over Defiance today, on Saturday, Oct. 18. The game is slated to start at 1:30 p.m.