Franklin 28, Bluffton 12
First quarter TD's the difference in Franklin's 28-12 win at Bluffton
October 10, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team outscored two-time defending HCAC champion Franklin College 12-7 over the final 50 minutes of the game, but three Grizzly touchdowns in the first quarter proved to be the difference as the Beavers dropped their 2009 Homecoming contest by a final score of 28-12 on Saturday, Oct. 10. Bluffton slipped to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the Heartland Conference, while Franklin moved to 4-1 and 2-0 in the HCAC.
Franklin needed only 18 plays and just over seven minutes for its offense to fashion three quick touchdown drives that included nine first downs and put the Grizzlies up 21-0 with 4:46 to play in the opening stanza. The visitors threatened to blow it open with a 16-play, 68-yard to open period two, but a missed Machy Magdalionos field goal from 29 yards gave the Beaver faithful hope.
After an eight-play Bluffton possession stalled, junior Dearl Goins (Detroit, Mich./John J. Pershing) forced a Franklin fumble at the visitor's eight-yard line. It took the Beavers just one play, an eight-yard Jason G. Johnson (Cleveland/Collinwood) scamper into the end zone, to make the score 21-6 when the extra point attempt was wide. The Bluffton defense showed signs of life near the end of the first half, keeping Franklin and its high octane offense out of the end zone to keep the game in reach at the break.
Both teams had their chances in the third quarter, but a Bluffton fumble on fourth and goal from the Franklin one-yard line following a 61-yard John Hazen (Cardington/Cardington-Lincoln) connection to senior wideout Stuart Thorp (Montpelier) kept the score at 21-6 going into the final stanza.
The Grizzlies made it 28-6 on a one-yard Nick Purichia run with 5:06 to play in the game, effectively sealing the outcome. However, the Beavers did not fold and three Brock Miller (Cincinnati/Oak Hills) passes found junior wideout Jason A. Johnson (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Eastern), including a 49-yarder and a one-yard scoring strike to the back corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion came up just short as the Beavers fell by a final count of 28-12.
The Beavers had their best offensive showing of the season, going for 361 yards, but Franklin put up 549 yards in the victory. Bluffton threw for 324 yards, while the visitors completed 32-of-46 passes for 354 yards. Franklin was penalized eight times for 85 yards, compared to just one 15-yard infraction called against the home team. Both squads struggled on third downs, each team moving the chains six times. Franklin was 3-of-4 on fourth down tries and Bluffton finished 2-of-3 on fourth down. The Grizzlies picked up 28 first downs, nine more than the Beavers.
Miller went 17-of-28 for 183 yards and a score while John Hazen finished the afternoon 7-of-11 for 141 yards. Jason A. Johnson had a breakout day, hauling in eight passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Todd Trotter (Cincinnati/Aiken University) caught three balls and Stuart Thorp had two receptions for a total of 78 yards.
Curtis Martin (Detroit, Mich./Central) paced the Bluffton defense with nine tackles. Steve Sealscott (Van Wert) and Jesse Herr (Bluffton) both chipped in with eight stops, including five solos by Sealscott. Sophomores Justin Crosier (Columbus/Hamilton Township), Jacob Luthy (Ida, Mich.) and Shane Hubbard (Johnstown/Big Walnut) all added seven tackles.
The Beavers will be back on the road next Saturday, Oct. 17, when they travel to Manchester College for a Heartland Conference meeting with the Spartans. The contest is slated to start at 1:30 p.m. in North Manchester, Indiana.