Franklin, Ind. - The nationally ranked Franklin College football team begins its 2014 season with a road match up against Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday, September 6 at 2 p.m. in Bloomington, Illinois. The contest is one of two games in the season-opening weekend involving two teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Division III playoffs.
The Grizzlies enter the season ranked No. 12 in the Division III preseason poll by Lindy's Sports and No. 25 in the D3football.com preseason poll. The team received seven of nine first-place votes from coaches to be favorites to capture its fifth consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) title this fall.
Franklin posted an 8-4 record and scored a 17-10 victory over Washington University-St. Louis in a first-round playoff contest – advancing to the second round for the third straight season.
The team opens the 2014 season by playing two Division III playoff teams, including a match up against defending national champion University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the home opener on September 13.
The Grizzlies return nine offensive starters and three defensive starters from last season. Junior offensive lineman Austin Carlton (Evansville, Ind./F.J. Reitz) was a preseason All-American by Lindy's Sports and D3football.com. He earned first-team All-North Region honors as a sophomore by D3football.com.
Franklin's offense averaged 42.5 points per game in 2013. Seniors Zach Cole (Middletown, Ind./Shenandoah) and Jonny Hession (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) are the top receiving options. Cole caught 46 passes and eight touchdowns in 2013, while Hession recorded 544 receiving yards and had five touchdowns. Senior tight end Dylan Jenney (Floyd Knobs, Ind./Floyd Central) had 33 receptions and four touchdowns last fall.
Senior Joey Pasquale (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) is a dual threat from the backfield, having 48 receptions (6.4 yards per catch) while gaining a team-high 493 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Senior Grant Welp (Ferdinand, Ind./Forest Park) is approaching his first collegiate start at quarterback, but had playing time in six games last season.