FRANKLIN, Ind.  -– Franklin College withstood a second-half comeback by visiting Thomas More and prevailed 24-21 in their NCAA Division III first round football playoff game at Faught Stadium on Saturday.

With the win, the Grizzlies improve to 10-1 and advance to play No. 1-ranked and defending national champion, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a second round game next Saturday.

Franklin took a 7-0 lead with 2:30 to play in the first quarter when Sam Otley scored on a one-yard run and Cole Richards added the point-after-attempt.

The Grizzlies extended the lead to 10-0 when Richards made a 30-yard field goal at the 12:13 mark of the second quarter.

Franklin increased the lead to 17-0 at halftime as Ethan Cook scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Richards added the PAT with 3:07 to play in the second quarter.

In the third quarter the Saints cut the lead to 17-7 when senior running back/return specialist Kendall Owens returned a punt 84-yards for a touchdown and sophomore place kicker Tim Gormly, Jr. added the PAT with 11:34 to play in the quarter.

The Saints cut the lead to 17-14 with 7:44 to play in the third quarter when sophomore running back Domonique Hayden scored on a two-yard run and Gormly added the PAT.

Franklin increased the lead to 24-14 with 13:14 to play in the fourth quarter when Jonny West connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Logan Worley and Richards added the PAT.

Thomas More cut the lead to 24-21 Hayden scored on a six-yard run on a fourth and one and Gormly added the PAT with 6:20 to play in the game.