Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 1, 2019

MU Spartans Stun Franklin in Historic Upset

Erin Hickle


After over two decades of coming up short to Franklin College, Manchester University’s football team was able to pull off a victory on Saturday, October 19, when they defeated the Grizzlies 30-21. This was Manchester’s first win against Franklin since 1997.

The Spartans struck first and contained the Grizzlies to lead 10-7 at halftime. During the first half, the Spartan’s defense was able to put up a pair of critical goal line stands. A couple of interceptions by Manchester and tough defense allowed for the Spartans to maintain their halftime lead.

Franklin was able to score early in the third quarter, grabbing the lead for the rest of the quarter. Down 14-10 going into the fourth quarter, Manchester was able to score yet again and maintain the lead for the rest of the game. Franklin answered to Manchester’s scoring by bringing the game within 2 points during the fourth quarter, making the score 23-21. Both teams battled throughout the game, but it was Manchester that was able to come up victorious with a score of 30-21.

Not only was this the first time Manchester had beat Franklin in over two decades, but the Spartans also picked up their first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win against the Grizzlies.

Manchester’s defense was able to rack up four sacks and two interceptions on the day. Austin Roberts was able to connect with Chico Ward, Charlie Peterson and Darren Lathrop a combined 117 receiving yards out of Roberts’s total 139 passing yards. Senior running back Donovan Henderson Jr. also played a vital role in Manchester’s victory over Franklin. Henderson ran for a total of 188 yards, breaking Manchester University’s all-time rushing record. He needed only 115 yards going into the game. The record was previously held by Dan Taylor with 3,122 rushing yards, a record that was set over four decades ago.

“We’re a run first offense, so we knew we had to run the football and take control of the clock,” Coach Jensen said. “The team knew we had to run the ball in order to win, and it was one of those things where Henderson got the record and was able to put the team in a position to win.”

Coach Jensen expressed his pride in the team and coaching staff. He felt this win over Franklin was a testament to how hard the coaching staff and team have been working. He called this victory a “program win,” and also gave credit to the senior leadership on the team.  “I’m really proud of this group of seniors,” Jensen said. “I am proud of the men they’ve become and their trust in the coaches, the team, the school, everything.”

With two home games left, Jensen hopes the Spartans can go undefeated at home the rest of the season. The Spartans will be back in action at home on Saturday, November 2, at 1:30 p.m. They will take on the Bluffton Beavers.