ALBION, Mich. – Kyle Thomas threw for 466 yards and racked up 542 yards of total offense, both Albion College single game records, as the Britons sailed past Franklin College, 56-35, on the Schmidt-Fraser Field inside Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
Prior to the game Albion Head Coach Craig Rundle said the outcome would hinge on which defense made a stop.
The teams traded touchdowns on their opening possessions, but the Britons rose up for the first stop as Levi Ladd and Malik Bozell wrapped up Grizzlies running back Jacob Earl for a 3-yard loss on a fourth down play that started at the Albion 20-yard line.
Albion didn't squander the opportunity. On the second play, Thomas hooked up with Kolby Canfield for 42 yards giving the Britons a first down at the Franklin 33. Six plays later, Doug Freeman scored from 9 yards out as Albion took a 14-7 lead with 4 minutes left in the first quarter.
Albion's defense rose up again early in the second quarter, pouncing on Earl's fumble as the Grizzlies reached the red zone.
That turnover allowed Albion to extend the margin to two touchdowns. Thomas hooked up with tight end Brian Blanzy for a 47-yard score as the Britons built a 28-14 lead with 10 ½ minutes left in the second quarter.
Albion cashed in on Franklin's second fumble of the quarter. Thomas found his brother, Justin, for a 20-yard gain to move the Britons to the red zone and Freeman rumbled the final 5 yards as Albion led 42-21 late in the first half.
"We thought the game was going to be a shootout, a track meet," Rundle said. "Anytime you get in those you have to get a couple of stops or a couple of turnovers. We did both of those. We got a stop on fourth down on one series and got two turnovers.
"Our guys played hard," Rundle added. "They knew they were playing a good team. We have a lot of pride and wanted to show they were just as good as the guys on the other side."
Thomas threw a pair of touchdown strikes in the third quarter, going for 54 yards to Marlon Martin and 30 yards to Justin Thomas.
In all, Kyle Thomas completed 27-of-37 passes and threw for four touchdowns. He ran for 76 yards and three scores.
"Kyle made good decisions," Rundle said. "There were only of couple of passes you wanted to have back. He didn't turn the ball over and that was a huge difference in the game."
For the second week in a row, Albion had a pair of 100-yard receivers. Kolby Canfield racked up a career-high 135 receiving yards, hauling in 6 passes. Blanzy pulled in 7 receptions for 119 yards.
Not to be outdone, Justin Thomas hauled in 6 passes for 98 yards and Martin finished with 90 yards on 4 receptions.
Darrell McEntire led the Albion defense with 14 tackles, while Ke-Mauri Heard Jr. wrapped up 10. Mitchell Arendson was credited with 2 ½ tackles for loss, including 1 ½ sacks.
Albion (2-0) will play its final non-league game next Saturday when it travels to Concordia (Ill.) University. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern Time.