Franklin 49, Bluffton 31
September 26, 2015
By: Griffin Kuras, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team welcomed the Franklin College Grizzles for a classic shootout where both teams brought their offenses. The second game on Alumni Field was an entertaining one as the Beavers were bested by the Grizzlies in a 49-31 victory as the visitors improved to 2-2 with a perfect 2-0 record in conference. The Beavers fell to a 1-2 overall with a 0-1 mark in conference. It marked Franklin's first trip to Bluffton since the Beavers stunned them 24-17 on Senior Day of 2013.
The opening drive for the Grizzlies was cut short by a Ryan AElker (Holgate) interception as he reached up to swat a pass and caught it off his own tip. The Beavers wasted no time opening the game with a six-play drive capped off with a wide open pass from Connor Sheehan (Monroeville, Ind.) to his favorite target, Micah Roberson (Ada) walking into the end zone untouched for a 23-yard touchdown. The Grizzlies marched their way down the field and completed a tightly contested pass on fourth and one for a three-yard touchdown to Mason Deal (Indianapolis, Ind.) to tie the game at 7-7. The first quarter continued to see points put on the board as Bluffton added a 26-yard field goal from Jordan Watkins (Reynoldsburg) and the Franklin found pay dirt once again on another touchdown pass from Chase Burton.
The scoring continued in the second quarter. It only took Franklin two plays to convert on a screen pass outside as Kole Stogner was able to take it 47 yards for a quick touchdown. With the score 20-10, the defenses adjusted to the fast pace of the game and buckled down as six of the next seven drives ended in punts. The 11-minute scoreless streak ended when Burton found yet another target in the end zone for his third touchdown of the day. Bluffton was able to match the Grizzlies just over a minute later with a touchdown as Sheehan scrambled in from five yards out, diving in for six and making the score 27-17 going into half.
The opening drive was kind to the home team, as Colby Spiece (Paulding/Wayne Trace) and company were able to get the ball in the red zone again and hit Roberson for an 18-yard leaping reception. Absorbing a hit in the process, he was able to use the defender and push himself up before hitting the turf and get in the end zone. The touchdown pulled the Beavers within three points. The Grizzlies were looking for breathing room on their next drive but they managed just a 29-yard field goal from Stephen Colligan.
The Beavers spirits were high entering the fourth quarter as they were within striking distance. The fourth stanza opened with a punt from each team before the Grizzlies found their offense once again after another screen pass from Burton to Lee Wroblewski who made a few defenders miss and took the ball for 55 yards and another six points. The Grizzlies never looked back as two more touchdowns made the score 49-24 with 4:13 to play. The day wasn’t over for Sheehan and Roberson as they added one more touchdown to make the final 49-31.
A solid showing for the Beaver offense saw Devonte Thomas-Wright (Kings Clinton Township, Mich) run for over 100 yards for the second straight game, ending the day with 108. Sheehan was able to complete 21 of his 33 attempts for two touchdowns and two interceptions, adding in 58 rushing yards and a score with his legs. Roberson had a huge day with 12 receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns, with Lorenzo McLaurin(Hilliard/Darby) and Korbin Showalter (Haviland/Wayne Trace) adding five and four catches, respectively.
Brad Swavel (Marion/Ridgedale) led the team with double-digit tackles adding up to 10 total. Aelker had a monster game with nine tackles to go along with two sacks and his interception, while Matt Holden (Convoy/Crestview) racked up eight total stops and a tackle-for-loss.
The Beavers hit the road next weekend as they travel to face off against the Hanover College Panthers in their second HCAC bout of the year. Bluffton will look to get back on track with a win at Coach Dorrel's alma mater. Kick-off is slated for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3.