BLUFFTON, Ohio – The Franklin College football team notched their second consecutive shutout on Saturday (Nov. 9) afternoon, blanking the Bluffton Beavers 10-0 to complete a season sweep of their conference foe.
The Grizzlies (5-4, 4-2 HCAC) forced four turnovers and held the Beavers (2-7, 2-4 HCAC) to 212 total yards of offense to win their second straight game.
Franklin forced the first of six Bluffton punts to open the game and turned that plus a Beaver mistake into points on their first drive of the day. The Grizzlies were set to send it away after a three-and-out, but a Bluffton personal foul on the punt gave the Grizzlies a new set of downs. The Grizzlies marched deep into Beaver territory before Carter Brown put three on the board with a career-long 38-yard field goal at the 7:19 mark of the first quarter.
The two defenses took over in the second quarter, as both teams were forced to punt the ball away four times. After 30 minutes of play, the led held at 3-0.
After their first two drives of the second half yielded little, the Grizzly defense stepped up early in the third quarter to set up Franklin's final score of the day. On a third down in Bluffton territory, Wyatt Carmack stepped up to snag his first career interception, giving Franklin the ball back with a short field. Seven plays later, Austin Grunden scampered into the end zone from 19 yards out, making it a two-score game with 7:39 to go in the third quarter.
Franklin's defense took it the rest of the way, forcing turnovers on each of the Beavers' next three possessions. Evan Stambaugh recovered a fumble after the touchdown, giving the ball back to the offense. On each of the next two drives, Franklin silenced a pair of long Bluffton drives thanks to interceptions by freshmen Kody Wilkerson and JP Osafo.
Following Osafo's interception, the Grizzlies turned to the ground game to run off the final 7:19, converting three third downs along the way. Franklin finished the day with 150 net yards rushing, 93 of which were picked up by senior Austin Grunden.
Braden Smith went 16-for-28 through the air for 110 yards, finding Cole Daab four times for 40 yards through the air. Senior Jacob Earl finished second to Grunden on the day with 11 carries for 65 yards, including a game-long 33-yard rush.
Brayton Shannon led all players with 11 tackles on the afternoon, finishing with a pair of sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Tanner Swindle, Bryce Hale and Lendon Underwood also got to the quarterback on Saturday, finishing with one sack each.
Freshman punter Antonio Burhfiend stuck four of his five punts inside the opposing 20, finishing with an average of 40.6 yards per punt.
The Grizzlies close out the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 16), traveling to Hanover for the 89th Victory Bell Game. Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m.