Rose-Hulman Upsets No. 14 Franklin 23-22

Rose-Hulman Upsets No. 14 Franklin 23-22

FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology earned its first win over a nationally ranked team since 1993 and handed No. 14 ranked Franklin College its first home conference loss since 2009 in a 23-22 victory on Saturday at Faught Stadium.

Junior Stanley Hogan III scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds remaining to put the Fightin' Engineers ahead at 23-22.  Hogan led the ground attack with 121 yards on 33 carries, including the game winning touchdown.

Senior Austin Swenson set two single-game school records to lead a 519-yard team offensive performance.  Swenson passed for 362 yards and two touchdowns, while setting single-game Rose-Hulman records with 45 completions on 71 passing attempts.  Senior Alec Fisher had 10 receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown, while junior Michael Iacono contributed nine catches for 83 yards and one score.

Defensively, junior Nate Jackson had a team-high eight tackles and one forced fumble.  Senior Sterling Mitchell added six tackles, and Alec Thompson joined Kevin Nowak with five each.  Senior Kyle Brewer added 1.5 sacks, and junior Tyler Brutofsky recovered a key late fumble to give the Fightin' Engineers one last chance to take the lead.

Franklin proved its own resiliance by gaining 466 yards on the day.  Chase Burton finished 26-50 through the air for 421 yards and three Grizzlies receivers crossed the 100-yard mark in receiving.  Rose-Hulman's defense stood strong at the most critical points of the game, however, holding the Grizzlies without a point once and to just a field goal on another possession inside the 20-yard line.

Franklin jumped out to an early 9-0 lead in the first quarter, before Rose-Hulman answered with back-to-back touchdowns to take a 14-9 lead with five minutes left in the first half.  Swenson and Iacono connected on a seven-yard touchdown pass, then Swenson hit Fisher on a touchdown from nine yards out with 5:03 left in the first half.

The Grizzlies regained a 16-14 lead on a 36-yard touchdown pass, but Rose-Hulman had one last first half drive to take the lead at the half.  The 13-play, 67-yard march ended on a 23-yard field goal by junior Matt Murray.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but both teams relied on key plays to keep the score at 17-16 in favor of Rose-Hulman.  The Fightin' Engineers marched 70 yards in 14 plays to reach the Franklin one-yard line, before the Grizzlies had a 4th-and-1 goal line stand on a tackle by Ryan Conner and Hunter Smith.

Franklin answered by marching 94 yards in 15 plays to reach the Rose-Hulman five-yard line.  The Grizzlies were held scoreless, however, as graduate student Connor Kispert blocked a 23-yard field goal attmept that could have put Franklin in the lead.

Rose-Hulman marched to the Franklin 30-yard line on its first possession of the fourth quarter, but a fourth down fumble gave the ball back to the Grizzlies.  Burton connected with Lee Wroblewski on a 13-yard touchdown strike to put the nationally ranked Franklin squad ahead 22-17.  Mitchell broke up a potential two-point conversion pass for the Grizzlies to keep the lead at five points.

Rose-Hulman had its best chance to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter on a drive that started near midfield with 8:11 remaining.  The Fightin' Engineers reached the Franklin six-yard line, with senior Joe Moehrle making a key diving catch on third down to keep the drive alive.  Rose-Hulman went for the lead and a touchdown on 4th-and-goal from the six-yard line, but an incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs.

Franklin had a chance to run out the clock, and Ty'Ronte Files gained an apparent first down at the Grizzlies 29-yard line.  Jackson forced Files to fumble, however, and Brutofsky recovered the fumble at Franklin's 29 to give Rose-Hulman one last chance.

The Engineers converted three third downs on the last drive.  Swenson connected with Raymond Burtnick on a nine-yard pass on 3rd-and-8.  Hogan then gained five yards on a 3rd-and-2, before scoring the game winning touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from the one-yard line.

Franklin reached its own 44-yard line on its final possession, but John Kirby knocked down a hail mary pass on the final play and the Fightin' Engineers stormed the field with their first win over a nationally ranked team in 24 years.

Rose-Hulman improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in HCAC play, while Franklin dropped to 5-2 and 4-1 in league games.  The Fightin' Engineers host HCAC co-leader Bluffton next weekend.  Rose-Hulman needs to win its final two games and have Franklin defeat Mount St. Joseph next Saturday to earn its first ever trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs.