FRANKLIN – A week after exploding for a season-high total in points, the Franklin College football team blew past that mark on Saturday afternoon with a 69-19 win over Manchester University.
The Grizzlies (3-2, 3-0 HCAC) racked up 707 yards of offense and found the end zone on 10 of their 12 drives on the afternoon as the Spartans (1-3, 0-2 HCAC) had trouble slowing down the Franklin attack. It was the most points in a game for any Grizzly squad since Oct. 10, 2015 when FC went off for 80 points against Earlham.
Senior quarterback Chase Burton accounted for six total touchdowns, going 30-for-40 for 417 yards and five TD passes. Jacob Earl had a career-high 90 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown and 13 different Grizzlies finished with at least one catch on the day as the offense set the tone for the entire afternoon on their first drive of the day.
"We always want to start out fast because it wears out the defense early," Burton said after the game. "The first few games we didn't start as fast as we'd like but the last two games we've felt like we can score wherever we're at on the field. And it has been a complete effort from everyone that sets foot out on the field."
"A lot of focus is going to go to the offense, but the defense did a great job today," Head coach Mike Leonard added. "They forced five turnovers and got big stops and made sure the offense had the ball in their hands a lot. We were galvanized this week after a great team meeting before the game and everyone played with the passion that we've come to expect from our guys."
Manchester won the toss and elected to kick to start the game. The Grizzlies made them pay just 1:43 into the contest when Burton connected with Deontez Alexander on a 19-yard score and an early lead.
After a three-and-out for the Spartans, Burton would connect with Alexander on a 57-yard score to give the Grizzlies a two-score lead less than five minutes into the game. It was Alexander's eighth touchdown catch of the year and the sixth going for more than 25 yards.
Franklin added a pair of touchdown runs later in the first quarter, one from Jordan Brown and the other from Burton. Burton would close out the first half with TD passes to Brown and Tanner Wroblewski, stretching the FC lead to 41-7 at the intermission.
Burton capped his day with a 15-yard scoring pass to Lee Wroblewski midway through the third quarter. Earl and Braden Smith ran for scores in the fourth quarter and Smith connected with Tahjon McKinney-Cole for a 41-yard score to cap the offensive onslaught.
Lee Wroblewski had a team-high 111 yards receiving on five catches. Tanner Wroblewski had a team-leading six grabs for 76 yards on the day. Brad Bonomini and Joey Siderewicz recorded season-high totals with five and three catches, respectively.
Defensively, the Grizzlies forced five Manchester turnovers. Trace Rooks, Ryan Conner and Brady Hale all recovered fumbles while Chris Knight and Brayton Shannon picked off their first career passes. Austin Fleming's six tackles were tops for a Franklin defense that spent a season-low 28:30 on the field compared to 31:30 for the FC offense.
The Grizzlies head back out on the road next week as they put their perfect HCAC record on the line against Earlham College. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.