TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Franklin College scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 38 seconds in the fourth quarter to pick up a narrow 29-28 win over Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the Fightin' Engineers 2019 Homecoming Game.
Braden Smith connected with Cole Daab on a 17-yard touchdown to cut Rose-Hulman's lead to 28-27 in the final minute. Rather than going for the extra point and overtime, the Grizzlies went for a two-point conversion. Smith made a leap for the goal line and crossed the goal line before Rose-Hulman forced a fumble on the play, resulting in a two-point conversion for Franklin.
Rose-Hulman had one final possession and reached its own 48-yard line. The Fightin' Engineers converted a fourth down pass to Jake Zimmerman to reach the Franklin 45-yard line. With eight seconds remaining, Dion connected with Adam Sturgeon for six yards but Franklin made a tackle inbounds to force the clock to hit zero.
Rose-Hulman led 14-0 after the first quarter and 28-14 after the third quarter in a tightly contested matchup. Andrew Dion had a pair of first quarter touchdown passes, connecting with Zimmerman on a 52-yard score and Sturgeon on a 33-yard touchdown to build the early lead.
Franklin responded with a three-yard scoring run by Smith and a 36-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Landon Gessinger to tie the score at 14-14 early in the third quarter. Rose-Hulman senior Garrett Wight scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, from 11 yards out and four yards out to give the Fightin' Engineers a 28-14 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Smith and Gessinger hooked up on a six-yard fourth down touchdown pass to bring Franklin within 28-21. The score remained the same until the final minute, and Franklin converted on a pair of third downs before reaching the red zone on its final drive.
Dion finished 18-27 through the air for 201 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Rose-Hulman offense. Wight led the team with 94 rushing yards and two scores. Noah Thomas had a team-high seven receptions and threw a 56-yard pass to Bryce Dobbs to provide balance. Zimmerman gained a team-high 79 receiving yards.
Smith was 17-34 passing for 263 yards and three scores for Franklin. Daab had 141 yards on six receptions for the Grizzlies. The statistics matched the closeness of the one-point game, with Franklin outgaining Rose-Hulman 388-381 in total yards.
The Rose-Hulman defense recorded six sacks on the day. Tyler Smith led the statistics with nine tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and one diving interception. Alex Perez added seven tackles, one sack and two pass breakups. Corey Vincent contributed two sacks to the defensive effort, and Jalen Gutierrez had a team-high 2.5 tackles-for-loss.
Franklin improved to 2-3 and 1-1 in HCAC play, while Rose-Hulman dropped to 2-2 and 1-1 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers travel to Bluffton University next Saturday.