This week, I've been preoccupied with an ear infection, work responsibilities, and being with family and friends over Thanksgiving, so blogging has taken a back seat. Back to regular daily posts tomorrow, when I'll start sharing daily Advent thoughts...
The most exciting news to report over the past week has been the great success of the Franklin College Grizzlies in the NCAA Division III playoffs. FC is now one of only eight teams left in the tournament, after two impressive victories on each of the past two Saturdays. You can see the entire bracket at d3Football.com.
FIRST ROUND: Franklin Outlasts Otterbein
First, FC traveled to Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio on Nov. 22 to face the Cardinals. It wasn't exactly the "frozen tundra," but a wintry day nonetheless in central Ohio. Would the weather turn this into a defensive battle? The first quarter suggested it might, with both teams failing to score. Then, each team scored a couple of opportunistic TD's in the second quarter to make the tally 14-14 at the half. We headed to our cars to warm up during half time.
When the two squads took the field for the second half, this suddenly turned into an entirely different game. The QB's took over, and soon the Grizzlies and Cardinals were marching up and down the field in a third quarter that saw FC put up 27 points and OC 17, with five lead changes. In the final period Franklin pulled ahead for good, and when the dust settled, the Grizzlies had prevailed, 62-45. Chad Rupp, the leading passer in FC history and HCAC offensive player of the year, completed a remarkable 41 for 62 passes with 527 yards and 7 touchdowns, including an NCAA record five TD's caught by wide receiver Logan Deffner.
SECOND ROUND: FC Defeats North Central
Sr. QB and Gagliardi Trophy nominee Chad Rupp completed 31 of 52 passes for 411 yards, and was also Franklin's top rusher with 83 yards on 15 carries, as he led the Grizzlies to a 38-28 victory over North Central College on Saturday, Nov. 29. On the defensive side, senior linemen Levi Smythe and Dan McManus led the way in pressuring and stopping NC, combining for 15 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. The Cardinals came out of the gate fast, sprinting out to a 14-3 lead on their home field before the Grizzlies fought back into the game, the lead, and eventually the win.