FRANKLIN, IND. – A high-flying Franklin College passing attack proved to be too much for Manchester University Saturday, Sept. 30.
Defending their Faught Field turf, the six-time defending champion and preseason favorite Grizzlies jumped out to a 27-0 lead after one period and didn’t look back to stay undefeated in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play behind a 69-19 victory. Even in the wake of a second successive defeat, bright spots were around the field for Coach Nate Jensen’s squad.
On the offensive side, it was an aerial attack that led the Spartans to their point total. Sophomore quarterback Alex Downard (Indianapolis, Ind.) went over 140 yards for a six successive contest and bettered the 200-yard mark for the third time in that span, going 17 of 22 for 206 yards and a touchdown. His top target, senior wide receiver Dakota Nelson(Fairland, Ind.), hauled in seven catches for 126 yards that included a nifty 67-yard scoring play that broke the zero on the visitors’ side of the scoreboard in the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Joe Powell (Beach Park, Ill.) managed a touchdown pass, too, hitting senior wide receiver Loche Daiss (Sheridan, Ind.) for an 18-yard scoring strike on the game’s final play. The ground game also found its way into the end zone, as sophomore running back Donovan Henderson, Jr. (Hollywood, Fla.) bowled in from two yards out on Manchester University’s opening drive of the second half.
Defensively, junior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) was the Spartans’ story. He totaled a unit-best 12 tackles, which included a half-one for a loss, and also broke up two Franklin pass attempts. Senior linebacker Mitch Oskam (St. John, Ind.) was next on the tackle chart (eight) and also figured in on a half-tackle for a loss.
The Spartans (1-3 overall, 0-2 HCAC) return to the road Saturday, Oct. 7. They take an eastern trip to Defiance College for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.