Bulldogs Host Host Valparaiso In Hoosier Helmet Game

STATE MEET:  Butler, 5-0 for the first time in nearly two decades, returns from a week off to host Pioneer Football League foe Valparaiso on Saturday, Oct. 17.  The two Indiana teams will square off at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Butler Bowl in the annual competition for the Hoosier Helmet Trophy.  The Bulldogs had an open date on their schedule, following their dramatic, 25-24, victory over PFL preseason favorite San Diego on Oct. 3.  That win gave Butler its best start since 1991, when the Bulldogs ran off six straight victories to open the season.  Valparaiso (1-4, 0-2 PFL) fell to San Diego last weekend, 48-7.  Butler and Valparaiso will be meeting for the 68th time in what is the Bulldogs’ longest active rivalry.            

Butler is one of just five unbeaten teams in the NCAA Division I FCS.

ON THE AIR:  For the fifth straight year, Butler football games can be heard on XL 950 (AM) in Indianapolis and on the internet at BigPlayProductions.com.  Calling the game are play-by-play announcer Brian Giffin and former Butler football coach Ken LaRose.  This weekend’s game against Valparaiso will be carried live on the internet, starting with a pre-game show at 12:40 p.m. (ET) and will be tape-delayed on XL 950, starting at approximately 3:30 p.m.

HOOSIER HELMET:  The Hoosier Helmet Trophy was added to the long-standing Butler-Valparaiso football series in 2006.  The white helmet on a wooden base sports a Valparaiso logo on one side and a Butler logo on the other and is presented to the winner of the annual meeting.  The Bulldogs have captured the helmet in two of the three previous trophy games. 

40-SECOND DRILL:  Butler pulled off the improbable with a 75-yard drive in 40 seconds, with no time-outs, to win its Homecoming game against San Diego.  Trailing, 24-22, with 0:42 left on the clock, the Bulldogs marched from their own five-yard line to the San Diego 20, where sophomore David Lang kicked a game-winning 37-yard field goal with just 0:01.9 left.  Quarterback Andrew Huck completed five of six passes for 63 yards on the drive, and the Bulldogs picked up an additional 12 yards on a pass interference call.  The big play of the drive was a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Zach Watkins that gave Butler a first down at the San Diego 27-yard line with eight seconds remaining.

Butler’s two PFL wins this season have been decided on the Bulldogs’ final play.

LEAGUE RECOGNITION:  Butler placekicker David Lang converted the biggest field goal of his young career to lift the Bulldogs past PFL preseason favorite San Diego, and his effort earned him PFL Special Team Player of the Week honors.  Lang, who missed two extra point kicks earlier in the game, nailed the game-winner from 37 yards out in the closing seconds.  He also had a career-long 39-yard field goal in the second quarter.  Lang has been perfect on three field goal attempts this season.  

CAREER EFFORT:  Senior safety Spencer Summerville made the final tackle in Butler’s Homecoming win over San Diego, adding to an already career-high total for the day.  Summerville finished the game with a career-high nine solo tackles and four assists for a career-best 13 stops.  It’s the highest total for a Butler defender this season and just two shy of the highest total recorded in the PFL this year.  His previous high was 11 tackles against Morehead State last year.

CHART CLIMBING:  Wide receiver Dan Bohrer had eight receptions for a season-high 79 yards in Butler’s come-from-behind victory over San Diego.  The 79 yards boosted his career total for receiving yards to 2,002 and moved him into third place on Butler’s all-time receiving list.  He trails Adam Lafferty, 1999-2002, in second place on the all-time list by 68 yards, and he’s 174 yards shy of the all-time Butler record held by Eric Voss, 1990-93.          

Dan Bohrer became just the third player in Butler football history to reach 2,000 receiving yards.

SCORING GRAB:  Sophomore wide receiver Zach Watkins keyed Butler’s fourth-quarter comeback against San Diego with his eighth touchdown catch of the season.  His 21-yard scoring grab with nine and a half minutes remaining cut San Diego’s lead to 24-22.  Watkins leads the PFL in touchdowns (8) and scoring (9.60 ppg).  He’s tied Butler’s fifth-highest single season total for touchdown receptions.

Zach Watkins is tied for ninth in the NCAA Division I FCS in scoring (9.60).

GRAY AREA:  Junior tailback Scott Gray rushed for a season-high 113 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries in Butler’s Homecoming win.  He scored the Bulldogs’ first touchdown in the game on a 12-yard run in the second quarter.  The 100-yard rushing performance was the third of his career and the first since 2007, when he gained 103 yards on 17 carries against Valparaiso.

Scott Gray has scored 20 touchdowns in 17 career games at Butler.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler leads the PFL in scoring offense (37.2), passing offense (264.4), and total offense (419.6).  The Bulldogs also top the circuit in pass interceptions (8) and first downs (115).

•The Bulldogs stand fifth in the NCAA Division I FCS in scoring offense and sixth in rushing defense (73.60).  Butler is second in the FCS in fewest sacks allowed (2).

•Quarterback Andrew Huck ranks 12th in the NCAA Division I FCS in total offense (282.40).  He continues to lead the PFL in total offense and passing average (249.0).

Andrew Huck is second in the PFL and 16th in the NCAA Division I FCS in passing efficiency (148.05).

Andrew Huck became the 21st Butler quarterback to pass from more than 1,000 yards in a season.

•Sophomore Zach Watkins ranks third in the NCAA Division I FCS in receiving yards/game (110.80), and fifth in receptions/game (8.20).  He leads the PFL in both categories.

•Sophomore safety Mark Giacomantonio is tied for third in the NCAA Division I FCS in pass interceptions (0.80).  He continues to lead the PFL.

•Defensive end Grant Hunter is tied for third in the NCAA Division I FCS in quarterback sacks (1.20), and he is tied for seventh in tackles for loss (1.80).  He leads the PFL in both categories.

Scott Gray had Butler’s longest rush of the season with a 44-yard carry against San Diego.  His career-long rush was a 75-yard carry against Valparaiso two years ago.

•Butler rushed for a season-high 215 yards in the victory over San Diego.  The Bulldogs had 475 yards in total offense, the third time in five games that Butler has topped the 400-yard mark.

•Offensive guard Donnie Gilmore started his 27th consecutive game for the Bulldogs in the Homecoming win over San Diego.

ON THIS DATE:  Tailback Kevin Kimble rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns to lead Butler to a 42-13 victory over Valparaiso at the Butler Bowl on Oct. 17, 1992.  Kimble, who had 26 carries in the game, scored all three touchdown in the first half to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.