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Spartans upended in HCAC opener

FRANKLIN, IND. – Manchester University played No. 13-ranked Franklin College to a strong second half in its 2013 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener Saturday, Sept. 21.

The Spartans posted a touchdown during the third and fourth periods and held the high-octane Grizzlies' offensive unit to two scores over the final 30 minutes. However, the home team used a 34-point first half roll to overcome the Black and Gold 48-7 on Branigin Field at Faught Stadium on FC's campus.

MU, dipping to 0-3, marched 71 yards in 18 plays early in the third period. Sophomore quarterback Logan Haston (Avon, Ind.). as part of a 121-yard afternoon through the air, hit sophomore wide receiver Dustin Powell (Angola, Ind.) on a seven-yard scoring strike. The Spartans' offense did manage 15 first downs and nearly 250 yards of total offense against the conference preseason favorites, but a steady air attack from the Grizzlies produced 350 of their 427 total yards and five touchdowns to key the win.

Coach Shannon Griffith's squad mounted early threats to get on the scoreboard. The Black and Gold missed a field goal late in the first quarter, were stopped on downs inside the 10-yard line after senior linebacker Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.) intercepted an FC pass and returned it to the 23-yard line in the second frame and were held on another fourth down attempt at the Grizzlies' 44-yard line earlier in the second quarter.

Dashner's interception highlighted the Spartans' defensive efforts. Fellow senior linebacker Dylin Kennedy (North Manchester, Ind.) added a team-leading 10 tackles. Joining Haston to guide the offense was the freshman wide receiver combination of Dakota Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) and Matt Wirick (Granger, Ind.) who combined for 11 receptions.

MU returns home Saturday, Sept. 28, to host Rose-Hulman. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at Carl W. Burt Memorial Field.