If you were looking for a defensive showcase at Faught Stadium on Saturday, you came away disappointed.
And if you were looking for a Franklin College win, you would have been even more disappointed by Trine’s 55-21 routing of the Grizzlies.
Franklin gave up 523 yards of total yardage and six offensive touchdowns to the Thunder, along with two field goals. Trine (3-0) also returned an interception for a score.
The Grizzlies (0-3) found the majority of their success in the air on their opening drive. Quarterback Kai Ross connected with Jarrett Gibson for a 36-yard pass, Garrett Cora rushed for 7 yards and Ross found Gibson again for a 7-yard gain. Ross topped the drive off with a completion to Ryus Moore and a 14-yard touchdown zip to Cora, giving Franklin a 7-0 lead with 11:22 left in the first quarter.
Trine wasn’t able to make much headway in its first chance on offense, but did make up for it on defense when Marc Garren came up with a game-tying pick-six. The Thunder then took the lead for good after an 88-yard drive, going up 14-7 with 3:13 left in the first quarter when quarterback Alex Price found Brandon Kline for a 27-yard touchdown.
After a 29-yard field goal from Trine’s Braden Moore, Ross kept the Grizzlies in it by finding Gibson for a 9-yard touchdown; that cut the Thunder lead to 17-14 with 10:44 left in the second.
After another field goal put the Grizzlies behind by six, Cora got the next Franklin possession started by breaking free from the Thunder defense and finding the sideline for a 26-yard rush. The drive eventually stalled, however, and after a turnover on downs, Price got loose for a 67-yard touchdown run.
The deficit nearly got bigger before halftime, but Franklin’s Jireh Ojata came up with a huge sack to force a fourth down, and a Trine field goal attempt was no good. Ojata had eight tackles and 1.5 sacks overall for the Grizzlies, who also got a team-best 11 tackles from Kody Wilkerson.
The Thunder added to their lead in the third quarter, though, with running back Cole Alexander punching it in for a 1-yard touchdown and Price then finding Rodney Johnson for a 16-yard touchdown that made it 41-14.
Ross, who totaled 157 yards passing, threw his third touchdown of the day, a 6-yard dot to Gibson with 10:31 left in the fourth, but Trine matched that score when backup quarterback Brett Kraylor slung a ball to Kyran Pearson for the final tally of the game.
Gibson gained 85 yards on nine receptions for Franklin College, which gets a much-needed bye week before beginning conference play at Bluffton Oct. 1.