The Franklin College football team had its 31-game Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) winning streak ended in a 24-17 loss Saturday at Bluffton University.
The ninth-ranked NCAA Division III Grizzlies stand 6-3 and are 6-1 in HCAC play.
Bluffton (3-6, 3-4 HCAC) scored the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining. Donovan Brown caught a 44-yard deflected pass to give the hosts a 24-17 lead.
The Beavers took a 7-0 lead on a Connor Sheehan 73-yard touchdown pass to Shawn Frost in the first quarter.
The Grizzlies cut the lead to 7-3 following a 26-yard field goal by Mike Wood at the 14:12 mark of the first half. Bluffton converted a 25-yard field goal by Zach Rader midway through the second quarter.
Franklin tied the game at 10-10 on a nine-yard touchdown rush from senior quarterback Jonny West with 22 seconds remaining in the first half.
In the second half, Bluffton’s Connor Sheehan capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive with a one-yard score. The touchdown gave the Beavers a 17-10 advantage with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
Franklin squared the game at 17-17 after freshman running back Kole Stogner scored on a touchdown carry with 3:40 left to play.
After Franklin had its fourth turnover of the game, Bluffton converted with the winning score.
Individually, West threw for 316 yards and completed 33 passes. Senior split end Kyle Linville had eight catches for 124 yards. Junior Dylan Jenney had eight receptions, while Stogner added eight catches.
Junior Joey Pasquale led the rushing attack with 72 yards on nine attempts. Stogner recorded 62 yards on the ground and a score.
Defensively, senior Scott Moore led the team with 10 tackles.
Sophomore Nate Bryan added six stops with 1.5 tackles for loss.
Franklin returns to action on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Hanover College in the Victory Bell Classic. A win would give the Grizzlies their fourth consecutive HCAC title.