FRANKLIN, Ind. – Playing in front of their home crowd for the final time this year, the Franklin College football team recorded their first shutout win in over four years with a 28-0 blanking of Defiance College on senior day at a soggy Faught Stadium.
The Grizzlies (4-4, 3-2 HCAC) held the Yellow Jackets (0-7, 0-4 HCAC) to just 147 yards and forced five turnovers in Saturday's downpour, giving Franklin their first shutout since Oct. 5, 2015 when they silenced Manchester, 42-0. On offense, the Grizzlies held the ball for more than 35 minutes and racked up 228 yards on the ground.
Both teams traded a punt and a rain-induced fumble on each of their first two drives before Franklin broke through for the opening score midway through the first quarter. After recovering the first of three Defiance fumbles deep in Yellow Jacket territory, Austin Grunden scampered in from 16 yards out for the game's first touchdown with 6:13 to go in the first quarter.
Two plays into the Yellow Jackets' next drive, Brady Hale forced his second fumble of the quarter and Garrett Day fell on the ball at the Defiance 24. Four plays later, the Grizzlies doubled their lead when Grunden punched it in from three yards out.
That score held until late in the second quarter, when Franklin capitalized on a short field to extend their lead. Facing a second-and-15, Braden Smith rolled to his right and found a wide open Jarrett Gibson in the end zone, a 26-yard scoring strike that was the first career touchdown for Gibson.
For the entire second half, the Grizzly defense refused to yield any ground, forcing three turnovers and not allowing Defiance inside the Franklin 35-yard line. Senior Chris Knight picked off a pass on Defiance's first drive of the second half and followed it up by forcing a fumble on the first play of the Yellow Jackets' next series. Freshman Aaron Black recorded his first career pick late in the fourth quarter, the final Defiance giveaway of the afternoon.
Grunden was the offensive standout of the day, finishing with a career-high 145 yards on 23 carries. Ian Seim added 46 yards on the ground on a career-high 10 touches and freshman Peyton Hobson also set career-bests in carries (seven) and yards (21). Smith went 7-for-10 through the air for 56 yards and a score on a day where passing yards were at a premium.
The Grizzlies are on the road for their final two games of the year, the first coming on Nov. 9 when they head to Bluffton for the second time this season. Earlier this year, Franklin won a scheduled non-conference game against the Beavers, 34-19. Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m.