RICHMOND, Ind. – The Franklin College football team heads into their bye week winners of four straight games following a 56-26 win over Earlham College on Saturday afternoon.
The number four proved to be a lucky one for the Grizzlies (4-2, 4-0 HCAC) on Saturday as Franklin found the end zone on each of their first four drives. Sophomore running back Jacob Earl set new career highs with four rushing touchdowns and 123 yards on the ground to pace the Franklin offense.
Now a perfect 4-0 in conference play and 8-0 all-time against the Quakers, the Grizzlies carry a wealth of momentum with them into their upcoming week off and will have a chance to re-charge and re-focus before their next contest.
"With four conference games down and four to go, it's the perfect time for us to have our bye week," Head coach Mike Leonard said after the game. "It's time for the team to review all of the fundamentals and all of the standards our seniors set during pre-season training camp. We still have a lot of work to do to accomplish our goals."
After forcing a Quaker punt to open the game, the Grizzlies found the end zone when Earl finished off a nine-play, 50-yard drive less than six minutes into the game. The Franklin defense forced another punt and the offense made it a two-score game when Deontez Alexander hauled in a 59-yard score from Chase Burton to make it 14-0.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, Burton and Alexander connected again for a 16-yard score to make it 21-0. The touchdown gives Alexander a team-leading 10 on the year. Earl would add to the lead with runs from two and 42 yards out and Burton closed out the half with a late TD toss to Tanner Wroblewski, giving the Grizzlies a 42-13 lead at the break.
Earl cashed in for the fourth time on the Grizzlies' first drive of the second half, scoring from 32 yards out for the second time in the game. Later in the third, Rylan Arihood took over in the backfield and recorded his first career touchdown run, scoring from a yard out to cap the Franklin scoring.
Franklin finished the afternoon with 531 yards of total offense. Burton was an efficient 21-for-28 for 254 yards, three touchdown passes and one interception. Alexander hauled in four balls for a team-high 84 yards and a pair of scores. Tanner Wroblewski finished with a season-high nine catches for 79 yards and a score.
Senior Austin Fleming anchored the Franklin defense on Saturday afternoon, finishing with a team-high eight tackles. Tyrone Thomas III had four tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Nathan Warman led the Grizzlies with 1.5 tackles for a loss on the day.
With the bye week coming next week, the Grizzlies will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 21, when they head west to take on Rose-Hulman in a battle of the last two unbeaten teams in HCAC play. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.