/seasons/2012/contrib/20121103kcgv7w

Franklin sacks HCAC foe Bluffton to clinch tie for title

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FRANKLIN, Ind. – Visiting Bluffton's defense did a solid job of keeping Franklin College's usually high-scoring offensive attack in check today.

The Grizzlies' defense, which piled up a whopping 11 quarterback sacks, was even better in FC's 23-9 football decision at Faught Stadium this afternoon.

Ranked 21st in the D3football.com Top 25 poll and rated 24th in the American Football Coaches Association's Division III Coaches Poll this week, Franklin improved to 7-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and 7-2 overall with its 25th straight league victory.

The Beavers, who remained in contention to knock off FC until the last few minutes, fell to 4-3 in the HCAC and 5-4.

Coupled with Hanover's 35-34 loss at Manchester today, the Grizzlies' triumph over Bluffton clinched a share of the 2012 league championship.

Franklin can claim its third straight outright title with a victory over Hanover a week from today. However, the HCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs will be at stake.

The Grizzlies got on the scoreboard first when junior split end Kyle Linville made a spectacular grab of a high 6-yard pass from junior quarterback Jonny West in the back of the end zone with 6:41 to go in the opening quarter. FC's extra point was missed.

But those would be the only points FC would muster in the entire first half.

The Beavers tied the game before the intermission when junior quarterback Tyler Wright scrambled his way up the middle on a 8-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left. The visitors then missed their conversion kick.

Franklin tallied 10 points in the third period with a 21-yard field goal by senior kicker Cole Richards at the 10;35 mark and a 1-yard TD run by sophomore running back Sam Otley with 4:33 left to move ahead 16-6.

But Bluffton threatened to pull within a few points when Derek Woods intercepted a West pass and returned the football to the FC 22-yard-line early in the fourth quarter.

The Grizzlies' defense held and the Beavers settled for a 36-yard field goal by junior kicker Austin Sweeney, trimming the host's lead to seven.

Franklin all but sealed its victory by driving 94 yards on 15 plays and scoring on another 1-yard run by Otley with 4:06 remaining.

Though Bluffton kept FC from producing any big quarters, their day was a case of so-close-but-yet-so-far.

The Beavers' offense was thwarted drive after drive by a Franklin defense that produced 11 quarterback sacks for 69 yards.

Junior Colin Gallagher, the starting right tackle on the Franklin offensive line, once again also played on the D-line and produced three of those sacks of Wright, totaling 17 yards. Junior end Dominique Boyd made two QB sacks for 17 yards.

Meanwhile, junior linebacker Alex Van Cleve made 7 solo tackles and 11 total tackles, including a sack, and freshman linebacker Keaton Lyons had 9 total tackles, including 6 solos.

The Grizzly defense held Bluffton to 194 total offensive yards.

West completed 24 of 31 passes for 255 yards with a TD and interception. Linville, this week's HCAC Player of the Week on offense, finished with 9 catches for 102 yards and his score for Franklin, which 390 total offensive yards.

Sep. 13: All times Eastern
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Western New England 56, at Westfield State 35
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Becker 12, at Worcester State 10
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William Paterson 28, at FDU-Florham 23
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McDaniel 13, at Moravian 10
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Muhlenberg 38, at Dickinson 9
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Ursinus 48, at Gettysburg 10
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UW-Whitewater 20, at Concordia-Moorhead 10
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 30, at Northwestern (Minn.) 7
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at Tufts 14, Trinity (Conn.) 8
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Ohio Northern 39, at Muskingum 10
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at Hope 80, Defiance 6
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Trine 35, at Bluffton 20
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at Heidelberg 35, Wilmington 10
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at Middlebury 17, Williams 13
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Linfield 35, at Rowan 14
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Baldwin Wallace 45, at Otterbein 28
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Ohio Wesleyan 42, at Kenyon 0
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Millsaps 35, at Westminster (Mo.) 10
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Olivet 54, at Concordia-Chicago 24
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Concordia (Wis.) 31, at Augsburg 0
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at St. Norbert 27, UW-Eau Claire 21
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at Crown 23, Beloit 6
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Aurora 48, at Elmhurst 22
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Valley City State 67, at Minnesota-Morris 7
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Hamline 31, at Macalester 27
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Louisiana College 20, at Belhaven 14
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Cornell at Coe
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Delaware Valley 37, at Kean 7
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North Central (Ill.) 43, at Christopher Newport 13
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Wesley 69, at Franklin Pierce 0
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at Muhlenberg 45, TCNJ 26
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Ithaca 66, at St. Vincent 28
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at Washington and Jefferson 16, Wittenberg 8
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at John Carroll 21, UW-Stevens Point 7
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Centre 45, at Hanover 31
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Berry 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
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at Bethel 42, Simpson 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 38, at Monmouth 0
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St. John's 14, at UW-Stout 7
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at UW-La Crosse 21, Concordia-Moorhead 14
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Whitworth 50, at La Verne 24
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at St. Thomas 69, Trinity International 3
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at UW-Whitewater 42, Dubuque 7
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Mount Union 66, at Rose-Hulman 14
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Hardin-Simmons 64, at Sul Ross State 0
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