FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College football team set a new single-game program record for yards in a contest, racking up 789 yards of total offense in a 64-20 win over Earlham College on Saturday afternoon at Faught Stadium.
Franklin (6-1, 5-0 HCAC) scored touchdowns on four of their first 11 plays to open up a sizeable lead on the Quakers (0-8, 0-6 HCAC). The Grizzlies accumulated a season-high 360 yards on the ground and six different skill position players found the end zone on the afternoon. For the Grizzlies, it was a matter of executing their game play perfectly and that allowed them to stay perfect in conference play.
"We knew we needed to come out and play our game," Head coach Mike Leonard said. "Earlham always battles us hard and we told all of our units they needed to be ready to go. We got everyone some playing time and I was pleased with how our starting unit performed in the opening half. I really love the makeup of our team right now."
"Our focus coming into today was no different and that was to play our game," junior quarterback Braden Smith added. "That's what we try to do every week and today our offensive line played really well. Our running backs had lanes to run through and I had plenty of time to find open receivers today."
Franklin jumped on the board just three plays in when Jacob Earl took a screen pass 62 yards to the house for the opening score. Earl added touchdown runs from 17 and two yards out later in the quarter and Ryker Stout hauled in a 66-yard touchdown pass to give Franklin a 27-3 lead after one quarter.
The Grizzlies expanded their lead with a pair of Austin Grunden touchdowns in the second quarter, one coming on a three-yard run and one coming late in the quarter on a 44-yard catch and run. Franklin's defense added a safety midway through the quarter to take a 43-3 lead into the intermission.
The Franklin ground game accumulated for two more scores in the third quarter, one coming on a two-yard Payton Healy run and the second on a 68-yard scamper by quarterback Evan Deig. Ian Seim capped the scoring with a two-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter.
Smith put together an efficient half of football under center, going 12-for-14 through the air for 384 yards and three touchdowns. Deig went 6-for-9 for 45 yards through the air in the second half and finished with a team-high 114 yards on the ground.
Earl finished the day with three total touchdowns and 87 all-purposed yards in limited action. Seim and Healy finished with career-high totals in rushing yards with 94 and 54, respectively. Brad Bonomini hauled in three passes for a game-high 122 yards, with 12 different Grizzlies catching at least one pass on the afternoon.
Defensively, the Grizzlies limited Earlham to 384 yards of total offense Jacob Ferguson and Logan Feigel led Franklin with six tackles each and Evan Stambaugh picked off his first career pass late in the first quarter.
The Grizzlies hit the road next Saturday (Oct. 27) for their final road game of the regular season. Franklin travels to North Manchester, Ind. to take on the Manchester Spartans with kick-off set for 1:30 p.m.