For three quarters, Franklin College kept up with host Trine stride for stride, heading into the fourth quarter deadlocked at 37-37. The Thunder proved to have a bit more staying power, though, opening the last period with three consecutive touchdowns on the way to a 58-37 triumph.
The Grizzlies (0-3) had plenty of offense, racking up 574 total yards and maintaining a five-minute edge in time of possession. But in the end, Trine was able to finish off more scoring drives, including two within the first 4:14 of the fourth quarter to take the lead for good.
Quarterback Kai Ross got Franklin on the board with an 8-yard touchdown run to tie it at 7-7 late in the first quarter. The Grizzlies pulled even two more times in the second on a 1-yard Kam Jennings TD run and a 42-yard pass from Ross to Dylan McKinney before taking their first lead on a Gabe Crutchfield field goal as the first-half clock ran out.
A 10-yard pass from Garrett Cora to Spencer Wright gave Franklin a 30-29 lead with 10:19 left in the third quarter, and Ross connected with McKinney on a 20-yard scoring toss at the 6:14 mark to make it 37-37. The Thunder dominated the next 20 minutes of play, however, with the Grizzlies not scoring again until Zane Downing’s 1-yard run on the final play of the afternoon.
Ross was 29 of 51 passing for 316 yards, and he also rushed for 148 yards. Cora added 84 yards on the ground, while McKinney led the receiving corps with six grabs for 95 yards. Twelve different Grizzlies caught at least one pass.
Charlie Moore had eight tackles to lead the Franklin College defense, while Jireh Ojata recovered a fumble.
The Grizzlies return to action Sept. 30 with a home game against Bluffton.