A balanced team performance led the Franklin College football team to score 35 unanswered second-half points in a 56-24 victory at Mount St. Joseph University on Saturday. The Grizzlies remain in a first-place tie atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) standings with one league loss heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Trailing 24-21 with 9:40 left in the third quarter, Franklin regained the lead on a 49-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Chase Burton to junior wingback Lee Wroblewski. The score put Franklin ahead 28-24 at the 8:02 mark of the quarter.
Then, the visitors took a 35-24 lead with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter as Burton hooked up with junior split end Deontez Alexander on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
The defense put points on the scoreboard later in the quarter as junior linebacker Colton Hayes returned the first of his two interceptions 45 yards for a touchdown.
The Grizzlies (6-2, 5-1 HCAC) scored 21 points in the final 8:02 of the third quarter to build a 42-24 advantage.
Two fourth-quarter touchdown runs by senior running back Ty'Ronte Files sealed the important road victory. He rushed for three touchdowns and gained 91 yards on 26 attempts in the game.
MSJ (5-4, 5-2 HCAC) led 10-7 after the first quarter before passing touchdowns to Alexander (39 yards) and junior wingback Darrell Crenshaw (four yards) gave Franklin a 21-10 halftime advantage.
For the game, Burton threw four touchdown passes and completed 36 of 50 passes for 310 yards. Crenshaw caught a team-high 11 passes, while Wroblewski had a team-high 95 receiving yards. Alexander had two touchdown receptions among his six catches for 89 yards in the victory.
Defensively, senior defensive back Taylor Christensen had a team-high eight tackles, while junior linebacker Jay McClain added seven tackles. Hayes registered the first two interceptions of his career.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology defeated Bluffton University on Saturday in another HCAC contest featuring one-loss HCAC teams.
Franklin returns to the road on Saturday, November 5 at 1:30 p.m. to face Anderson University.