FRANKLIN – Playing in front of a packed Faught Stadium on homecoming afternoon, the Franklin College football team gave all fans in attendance plenty to cheer about with a convincing 66-39 win over Mount St. Joseph University.
It was a record-setting day for Franklin (6-2, 6-0 HCAC) quarterback Chase Burton, as the senior had another big day throwing the ball. Burton went 31-for-37 through the air for 445 yards and six touchdown passes, becoming the program's all-time leader in TD passes in the process, breaking Jonny West's previous record of 105.
Senior wideout Deontez Alexander caught a season-high 10 passes for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdown passes. It was a complete effort from a Franklin team that was fired up from the start, and the result on the field was proof.
"It was one of those games that we knew was important to keep our spot at the top of the conference," Head coach Mike Leonard said after the game. "We have two big games left, but I was most proud of the way our guys came out and took control of the game early. We still have some things we need to clean up but we're happy with the way that we were able to take command of this one."
The Grizzlies took the opening kick and marched right down the field for the opening score just 2:16 in when Burton connected with Alexander on a 30-yard score. Following a Lion punt, Burton eclipsed West with his 106th career TD pass, connecting with Alex Smith from four yards out to make it 14-0.
Franklin continued their offensive onslaught in the second quarter with Burton tossing four more touchdown passes to blow the game open. Burton hit Lee Wroblewski and Brad Bonomini on back-to-back possessions to make it 28-6 Franklin. Burton turned to the deep ball on the final two FC possessions of the half, hitting Alexander for a 75-yard score and Wroblewski from 32 yards out to push the FC lead to 42-15 at the break.
The Grizzlies weren't done adding to their lead, getting second half touchdown runs from Kole Stogner and Jacob Earl. Spencer Fox would cap the scoring with his first career touchdown pass, a 56-yard strike to Ben Fleet late in the fourth quarter.
The relentless Franklin offense set a new single-game record for total yards, racking up 727 on the afternoon. Jordan Brown led all Franklin ball carriers with 78 yards on 17 attempts. Ben Fleet also set new career bests with six catches for 131 yards.
On defense, Austin Fleming topped the Grizzlies with six tackles. Zach Turner finished with a pair of sacks and Fazaun Stephens picked off a pass for the second straight game. The Franklin defense held the Lions to 466 yards on the day.
Franklin can wrap up the HCAC regular season crown in one week with a win over Anderson University on Senior Day. Kickoff on Nov. 4 is set for 1:30 p.m. with the senior day festivities taking place before the game.