Defensive stands help key Franklin's victory at Defiance
DEFIANCE, Ohio – Franklin College didn't get a record-breaking shutout, but its defense played a major role today in the Grizzlies' 35-14 victory at upset-minded football host Defiance.
Franklin was attempting to keep its opponent from scoring for the fourth straight contest – the Grizzlies tied the 1923 season's school record of three last week – but stopped several scoring threats by the Yellow Jackets in the second half to keep FC's record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference perfect this season.
Ranked 21st in this week's D3football.com Top 25 Poll, the Grizzlies overcame five turnovers on the day and improved to 6-0 in the HCAC and 6-2 overall with its 24th consecutive triumph in a HCAC game.
Defiance fell to 2-5 in the HCAC and 2-7.
It didn't take long for the Yellow Jackets to end FC's shutout bid when they capitalized on a fumble recovery with a 1-yard touchdown run by Trevon Burrell midway in the opening quarter.
Franklin answered with two rushing TDs in the period – a 12-yard run by senior running back Luke Hamm and a 1-yard score by junior quarterback Jonny West.
The Grizzlies took a two-touchdown lead when West hit junior split end Kyle Linville with a 39-yard strike with 3-1/2 minutes left before halftime, but Defiance responded with a TD pass play of its own when quarterback Grant Teague hit Brian Mircovich on an 8-yard play at the 1:09 mark.
Neither team could score in the third quarter until West found Hamm with a 22-yard TD toss with just 14 seconds left.
Franklin capped its scoring with 10-1/2 minutes to go in the fourth when West connected with Linville for the second time – this time on a 7-yard play.
Both of FC's last two scores were made after key take-aways by the Grizzly defense, which thwarted Defiance drives twice on downs and once with an interception and once with a fumble recovery after the intermission.
The Griz's defense was led by junior linebacker Scott Moore, who who had six solo tackles and six assisted tackles. Sophomore safety Jameson Brock and junior cornerback Zack Corpe made 10 total tackles each.
Corpe, the reigning HCAC Player of the Week on defense, also had an interception, which he returned 40 yards to set up Franklin's fourth touchdown.
West completed 18 of 36 pass attempts for 281 yards and 3 TDs. Linville made 10 receptions for 165 yards and a 165 yards and two scores.