FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology gave Franklin College a four-quarter battle in the Grizzlies Homecoming Game, before a touchdown pass in the final minute proved the difference in a 42-39 Franklin victory on Saturday afternoon.
Braden Smith connected with Ben Fleet on a fourth down 31-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining to turn a 39-34 Franklin deficit into the 42-39 victory. The Fightin' Engineers had taken the lead at 39-34 on the previous possession, a 13-play, 73-yard march capped by a two-yard scoring run from Derek Deimel.
Rose-Hulman led throughout much of the game, building a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter. Andrew Dion connected with Noah Thomas on a 17-yard touchdown pass to cap the first Engineer drive of the day. Dion later scored on a one-yard run and Maxwell Hatch scored on a six-yard touchdown run to give the Engineers a 14-point lead with 11:24 left in the first half.
Franklin rallied to tie the score at 21-21 at the half, then earned the lead at 27-21 on a third quarter touchdown. An eight-yard shovel pass from Dion to Thomas knotted the score at 27-27 entering the fourth quarter.
Rose-Hulman took the lead again at 33-27 on the first Deimel rushing touchdown of the day from two yards out with 8:16 left. Franklin took back the lead at 34-33 on a seven-yard pass from Smith to Fleet.
The offensive minded contest featured Dion completing 25-of-39 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns. Deimel rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns, with Hatch contributing 46 rushing yards and one score.
Thomas led the Rose-Hulman receiving effort with career-highs of 14 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Zimmerman had three receptions for 59 yards, and Sawyer Young contributed 54 yards on two catches. Smith paced the Franklin offense with 26-of-47 completions for 438 yards and three touchdowns.
Franklin improved to 3-1 and 2-0 in conference play, while Rose-Hulman stands 1-2 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers host Bluffton University in the annual Homecoming Game next Saturday at 2 pm.