ANGOLA, IN – Senior Alex Price led an offensive explosion as Trine University football defeated their hosts from Franklin College by the score of 55-21. Price accounted for four of the team's seven touchdowns.
Despite the lopsided final score, the beginning of the game looked to be going in the Grizzlies direction. The home team would receive the opening kickoff and mount a three and a half minute, 78-yard drive ending in a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Their defense then forced a quick punt from the Thunder giving the team a chance to take a commanding early lead.
Trine's defense, as it has all season, came up with a difference making play. After the team converted a pass on third and three to continue the drive, senior Marc Guerrero intercepted the next pass from Franklin's quarterback. He followed up by scampering 40 yards into the endzone. After a successful extra point, the game was tied, 7-7.
The defense used the momentum to force a quick three and out from the Grizzlies and the Thunder started their second drive at their own 12-yard line. Sophomore Dominic Crowder got the ball rolling on the second play of the drive breaking a run for 16-yards. Price ran for six on the next play and then completed a 36-yard pass to junior Connor Arthur to move the ball to the franklin 27-yard line. Price then connected with senior Brandon Kline in the back of the endzone to give the team their first lead of the game.
After another strong defensive series for the Thunder, Price and Crowder would combine for another drive down the field setting up a field goal from junior Braden Moore that increased the lead to 17-7. It was an important three points, with Franklin scoring a touchdown on the next drive to make the score 17-14.
Price set up another field goal on the next drive. The highlight was a 33-yard pass to Kline that flipped the field following a touchback on the kickoff. Sophomore Colton Wampler converted the field goal to make the score 20-14.
The defense came up with a big fourth down stop to end the next drive for the Grizzlies. Crowder gained a yard to open the resulting drive for the Thunder, but Price overshadowed him going 67-yards on the second play to score his second touchdown of the day. After the extra point was converted by sophomore Anthony Hentz the team held a 27-14 lead which would last into halftime.
Another long pass from Price to Kline highlighted the opening drive of the second half, which spanned 75-yards over 11 plays. Junior Cole Alexander finished it off with a one-yard touchdown run and after another extra point from Hentz the score was 34-14.
The defense was just as impressive out of the half. Senior Keysean Amison forced a fumble on the first play for the squad and Guerrero came up with the loose ball. The offense failed to get the yard-to-gain on a fourth down play and the ensuing drive ended without any points for Trine.
Later in the quarter Price did lead another scoring drive, finishing it with a 16-yard touchdown pass to junior Rodney Johnson. The third touchdown of his game gave the team a 41-14 lead.
His fourth touchdown followed shortly. The defense came up with another three and out, forcing a punt and giving the ball back to the offense on their own 28. Price completed the next pass to senior Kale Lawson for all 72-yards needed for another touchdown, giving the team a 48-14 lead.
The offensive backups entered the game following the touchdown and scoring slowed. The team would score one final touchdown in the fourth quarter when senior Brett Kaylor connected with classmate Kyran Pearson.
Franklin scored on their first drive of the fourth quarter as well to give the game its final score of 55-21.
Despite the offensive fireworks, solid defensive play was key in the victory. In addition to his forced fumble, Amison led the team with ten tackles, eight of them solo. Sophomore Matthew Jimenez finished second on the team with seven tackles and junior Joseph Johnson coming in with six. Those two players also combined for the team's lone sack of the contest.
Price finished the game with 274 yards through the air while going 13-for-18 with three touchdowns. He also led the team on the ground finishing with 112 yards rushing along with a touchdown. Crowder finished second with 73 yards on the ground.
A pair of receivers finished the game with over 100 yards. Kline finished with 119, while Lawson recorded exactly 100.
Trine improves to 3-0 following the second-straight road win. They will return home for their next game when they host Centre College on Saturday, Sept. 24. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.