Posted: Oct 09, 2019
The Opening Kick
It's homecoming weekend in Franklin and a busy Saturday of fun and events begins when the Grizzly football team welcomes the Anderson Ravens to Faught Stadium for the first of three straight home contests.
Last Time Out
Franklin hit the road for the first time in conference play last Saturday, making the trip west to take on the Rose-Hulman Engineers on their homecoming weekend. Down by two touchdowns on two different occasions, the Grizzlies rallied for the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion with 38 seconds left, handing the Engineers a stunning 29-28 defeat. Braden Smith threw for three scores, ran for another and punched in the game-winning two-point conversion. Box score and recap are available on page 14 of the notes.
About the Ravens
Off to one of their best starts in recent memory, the Ravens enter this weekend with a 3-2 record and are tied with the Grizzlies in HCAC play at 1-1 overall. Now in his second year as head coach of the Ravens, Steve Rock returns to the sidelines at Franklin for the first time as the opposition after spending 11 years on staff with Coach Leonard from 2006-17.
The Anderson offense ranks third in the HCAC coming into the week, racking up 433.4 yards per contest. Freshman quarterback Tyson Harley has been the driving force behind an offense that leads the league in passing yards, throwing for 1,505 yards and 11 touchdowns while completing 66.8% of his passes to date.
Harley's top target in the passing game is the league's leading receiver in Zac Tallent, whose 49 catches lead the HCAC by a wide margin and rank tied for the second most in the nation. Six different Anderson players have hauled in at least 13 passes on the year.
Defensively, the Ravens feature a young group with seven freshmen listed as starters on the two-deep and just two upper-classmen listed as starters for Saturday. Freshman linebacker Tyrekis Cushingberry enters the weekend as the team's leading tackler with 19 stops on the year. Overall, 14 different Ravens have recorded 10 tackles or more this year. Brandon Goodman leads the team with three sacks.
Last Time They Met
The Grizzlies and Ravens got together last September in Anderson and Franklin extended their winning streak in the series to 12 with a 51-27 win. The Grizzlies racked up 581 yards of total offense with Smith throwing for three scores and Jacob Earl running for three touchdowns on the afternoon. The Grizzlies look to make it a baker's dozen wins in a row this weekend, as Anderson has been held without a win in the series since 2005.
Last Saturday's win was the largest comeback victory in three years for the Grizzlies. The last time Franklin rallied back from more than 14 points to win came on Sept. 3, 2016, when they erased an 18-point second half deficit to shock Thomas More under the lights at Faught Stadium.
Shock to the System
Smith returned to the starting lineup after a two-game absence last weekend and provided a jolt to his teammates. The senior threw for 263 yards and three scores while finishing with a team-high 68 yards on the ground.
Daab on 'Em
Senior wideout Cole Daab had a breakout day against the Engineers, hauling in six passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, setting career highs in catches and yards. The Bloomington, Ind-native has emerged as the top target for Grizzly QBs, leading Franklin with 17 catches for 290 yards.
Stuffing the Competition
Senior Brayton Shannon has not only been the anchor of the Franklin defense through five weeks, but they one of the top defenders in the league. Shannon has led the Grizzlies in tackles in four of the first five games and his 54 tackles is the most in the HCAC entering this weekend.
Spreading the Wealth
Franklin's young receiving corps has been active this year, with 13 different players recording a catch on the year. Five different players have racked up double-digit catches on the year and six players have exceeded 100 yards.
Return on Investment
Freshman Jarrett Gibson has emerged as the league's top kick returner, racking up an HCAC-best 446 return yards through four games. Gibson ranks second on the Grizzlies with 543 all-purpose yards entering this week.
Class of the League
Since the 2007 season, the Grizzlies have been dominant against the rest of the HCAC, going 89-7 over that span while claiming nine of the last 12 outright conference championships.
Around the HCAC
All eight HCAC teams are in action this weekend along with the Grizzlies and Ravens. The rest of the schedule looks like this:
Hanover at Defiance, 1:30 p.m.
Rose-Hulman at Bluffton, 1:30 p.m.
Mount St. Joseph at Manchester, 1:30 p.m.
Follow the Action Live
Saturday's game will be streamed by live on GrizTV, brought to you by the Hubler Automotive Group. Sam Weiderhaft will have the play-by-play action between the Grizzlies and Ravens. Links to the video and live stats are available at the top of the page. In-game updates will be provided on our Twitter feed, @FCGrizAthletics.