SUNSHINE SHOWDOWN: Butler, coming off
perhaps its biggest win in years, faces another stiff Pioneer
Football League test when it visits potent Jacksonville on
Saturday, Nov. 14. The Bulldogs will square off against
the defending PFL champs at D. B. Milne Field at noon (ET).
Butler survived a road scare and pulled out a dramatic, 31-28,
victory at Dayton last weekend to remain in a first place tie with
Drake in the PFL. The win at Dayton lifted the Bulldogs to
9-0 for the first time since 1961 and boosted the team’s PFL
record to 6-0. Jacksonville, the PFL’s highest-scoring
team (31.2 ppg), improved to 4-2 in the PFL and 5-4 overall with a
49-20 victory over Valparaiso in its last outing. The
Dolphins have scored at least 34 points in each of their last four
games. Butler currently leads the PFL in total offense (398.7
ypg), while Jacksonville stands second in the league (391.9).
The game at Jacksonville will be Butler’s final road contest
of 2009. The Bulldogs will close out the season at home in a
championship showdown against Drake on Nov.
Butler is one of just two unbeaten teams in the NCAA Division I FCS.
ON THE AIR: The Butler-Jacksonville game can be heard on XL 950 (AM) in Indianapolis and on the internet at BigPlayProductions.com. The broadcast will be carried live on the internet and on XL 950, starting with a pre-game show at 11:40 a.m. (ET).
FINAL STOP: The Bulldogs never trailed in the second half at Dayton, but the battle between two of the PFL’s three first place teams wasn’t decided until the final play of the contest. Trailing 31-28, the Flyers started a drive on their own 16-yard line with just over a minute to play. Quarterback Steve Valentino moved Dayton downfield to the Butler 41-yard line, where he was faced with a fourth down and just six seconds remaining. His pass toward the end zone fell into the hands of teammate JMichael Jonard, who was immediately hit by Butler defenders Jack McKenna and Mark Giacomantonio as the final buzzer sounded. The ball ended just inches short of the Butler goal line.
Butler won for the first time in its last 10 visits to Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.
AWARD WORTHY: Butler quarterback Andrew Huck rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two more to lead the Bulldogs past Dayton. His effort earned him Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week recognition for the fourth time this season. He further was one of four players named to the College Sporting News National All-Stars for Nov. 9. Huck scored Butler’s first touchdown on a seven-yard run in the second quarter, and he gave the Bulldogs the lead for good with a seven-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dan Bohrer later in the second period. The Butler signal caller added touchdown runs of seven and 36 yards and a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Carter Walley in the second half. He finished the game with 54 rushing yards on 12 carries, and he hit 12 of 29 passes for 146 yards. The victory was Butler’s first at Dayton since 1988!
Andrew Huck has accounted for 26 rushing and passing TD’s this season.
GRAND LARCENY: Sophomores Mark Giacomantonio and Jack McKenna each came up with a pass interception at Dayton, giving Butler a league-high 14 pass thefts on the season. Giacomantonio picked off his fifth pass of the season and returned it 19 yards to the Dayton 23-yard line, setting up Butler’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter. McKenna had a 15-yard return on his second pass interception of the season, leading to Butler’s first touchdown drive of the game. Giacomantonio has matched PFL leader Jaquan Bryant with five pass interceptions, but the Butler safety has not played in enough games to qualify for league or national statistical rankings.
Butler leads the PFL in turnover margin (+10, 1.11 pg).
RUN AROUND: Junior Scott Gray recorded his second consecutive 100-yard rushing performance with a game-high 109 yards on 19 carries at Dayton. A week early, the Butler tailback gained a career-high 117 yards on 14 carries in Butler’s victory over Davidson. Gray, who’s tied for third in the PFL in rushing (69.3 ypg), has averaged 93.8 rushing yards per game in Butler’s last five outings.
Scott Gray has five career 100-yard rushing performances.
RECEIVING LINE: Senior Dan Bohrer had just two catches for 35 yards against Dayton, but it was enough to move him another notch closer to Butler’s all-time record for receiving yards. He’s climbed into second place on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart with 2,092 career receiving yards. He needs 84 yards to tie Butler’s all-time receiving yards record, held by Eric Voss (1990-93). Bohrer is Butler’s all-time leader in pass receptions (176) and receiving touchdowns (21).
FIELD POSITION: Redshirt freshman Michael Wilson dropped four punts inside the Dayton 20-yard line in the second half of Butler’s win. His four punts pinned the Flyers on their own two-yard line, five-yard line, 15-yard line and 16-yard line. The last came with 1:09 remaining, setting the stage for Dayton final drive. Wilson had a long punt of 52 yards against the Flyers.
•Butler has climbed to No. 26 in the FCS Coaches’
Poll. The Bulldogs have never been ranked in the “Top
25” in football since moving to the NCAA Division I.
•The Bulldogs have tied the school record for wins with nine. Butler also had nine wins in 1959, 1961, 1975, 1983 and 1991. The 1959 and 1961 teams both were 9-0.
•Butler leads the PFL and ranks third in the NCAA Division I FCS in fewest quarterback sacks allowed. The Bulldogs have yielded six quarterback sacks on the season.
•Quarterback Andrew Huck has moved into 12th place on Butler’s single season chart for passing yards with 1,818. He trails Curt Roy (1981) in 11th place by 27 yards and Rob Cutter (1987) in 10th place by 72 yards.
•Andrew Huck is bidding to become the third quarterback in Butler history to throw 20 touchdown passes in a season. DeWayne Ewing threw 22 touchdown passes in 2000 and Matt Kobli tossed a school-record 23 touchdown aerials last year.
•Sophomore linebacker Nick Caldicott led the Bulldogs with eight tackles at Dayton.
•Defensive end Grant Hunter didn’t play in Butler’s last two games because of illness. Hunter leads the PFL and ranks sixth in the NCAA Division I FCS in quarterback sacks (1.07).
•Sophomore Zach Watkins has moved into a tie for fourth place on Butler’s single season list for pass receptions (55). He needs eight receptions to catch Kyle Conner (2000) in third place on the all-time list. Watkins is tied for 25th in the NCAA Division I FCS in receptions per game (6.11).
•Sophomore Jordan Koopman, who had two kickoff returns for 52 yards at Dayton, is ranked second in the PFL in kick return average (23.7). Koopman had 156 all-purpose yards against the Flyers.
•Offensive guard Donnie Gilmore started his 31st consecutive game for the Bulldogs in the victory at Dayton.
ON THIS DATE: The Bulldogs completed Butler’s first unbeaten, untied season with a convincing 48-13 victory over Washington (Mo.) on Nov. 14, 1959. Butler led 42-0, before Washington scored late in the fourth quarter. The victory gave the Bulldogs a school-record nine wins, a mark that has been tied five times, including this season.