TITLE MATCH: Butler faces its most
consequential game in 15 years when it hosts Drake in a Pioneer
Football League championship showdown on Saturday, Nov.
21. The winner of the 1 p.m (ET) game at the Butler Bowl will
claim at least a share of the 2009 PFL title. Butler and
Drake both fell in PFL action for the first time this season last
weekend. Butler lost at Jacksonville, 36-7, while Drake was
beaten at home by Dayton, 23-6. That set the stage for a
final weekend with Butler, Drake and Dayton all tied for first
place with 6-1 records and all seeking a berth in the Gridiron
Classic to face the Northeast Conference champ on Dec. 5.
Dayton hosts Marist (5-2) in its final game. Butler will be
the PFL representative in the Gridiron Classic with a victory over
Drake. Dayton earns the berth with a win and a Butler
loss. Drake can advance to the postseason game with a win and
a Dayton loss. Butler is seeking its second PFL crown and its
first since 1994, when it had to defeat Evansville in the final
league game to grab a share of the championship. The
Indianapolis Bulldogs prevailed in that title game,
Butler has tied the school-record for victories with nine.
ON THE AIR: The Butler-Drake 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 12:40 p.m. (ET).
SENIOR DAY: Saturday’s title game against Drake will be the final regular season appearance for nine Butler seniors. Heading into their final game will be Spencer Summerville (Indianapolis), Brian Adika (Dayton, Ohio), Ricky Trujillo (Dallas, Texas), Derek Guggenberger (Haymarket, Va.), Nick Comotto (St. Charles, Mo.), Peter Xander (Westerville, Ohio), Brian Crable (Loveland, Ohio), Dan Bohrer (Guilford) and Derek Bradford (Camby, Ind.). The nine have helped Butler improve its record in each of the last four seasons, capped by this year’s record nine victories.
STREAK SNAPPED: Butler’s nine-game winning streak and unbeaten record came to an end in Jacksonville, Fla. The Bulldogs took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Huck to Dan Bohrer, capping a 67-yard, 11-play drive. But Jacksonville answered with the first of quarterback Josh McGregor’s three touchdown passes less than a minute later to tie the game, and McGregor struck again late in the second period to give the Dolphins a 14-7 halftime lead. Jacksonville added three more TDs in the third quarter, while handing Butler its first defeat of 2009.
STAT CHECK: The final statistics sheet on the Butler-Jacksonville game certainly didn’t match the final score. The Bulldogs out-gained Jacksonville, 375-298, and had 20 first downs to 11 for the host squad. Butler had a 36:22 to 23:38 advantage in possession time, and the Bulldogs ran 74 total plays to 48 for Jacksonville. But the Dolphins turned several big plays, including a 42-yard pass interception return for a touchdown by Brian Valdez, into a 29-point advantage.
TWO GRAND: Sophomore Andrew Huck became the eighth Butler quarterback to pass for over 2,000 yards in a season in the Bulldogs’ game at Jacksonville. Huck completed 21 of 35 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown against the Dolphins, boosting his season total for passing yards to 2,038. He currently stands seventh on Butler’s single season passing list, 80 yards behind Eli Stoddard (1997) in sixth place and 141 yards away from Mike Lee (1986) in fifth place. Only five Butler quarterbacks have thrown for more yards in a season than Huck. DeWayne Ewing set Butler’s all-time passing record with 3,182 yards in 2000.
Andrew Huck ranks third in the PFL in passing average (203.8).
RUSH HOUR: Junior Scott Gray had a mini-streak of two consecutive 100-yard rushing performances snapped at Jacksonville, but he still led the Bulldogs with 87 yards on 19 carries against the Dolphins. That effort boosted him over 700 rushing yards for the season and to 1,359 yards for his Butler career. Gray, who did not play against Drake last year because of injury, has averaged 92.7 rushing yards per game in Butler’s last six outings.
Scott Gray has five career 100-yard rushing performances.
RECEIVING LINE: Senior Dan Bohrer had five catches for 42 yards and one touchdown at Jacksonville. He enters his final game in second place on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart for receiving yards with 2,134 career yards. He needs 42 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 (181) and receiving touchdowns (22).
RUN STOPPER: Senior Derek Guggenberger had a team-high eight tackles at Jacksonville, giving him more than 50 tackles for the third consecutive season. The Butler linebacker enters his final regular season game with 204 career tackles. He topped the Bulldogs in tackles in both 2007 and 2008, and he ranks third on the team in tackles with 51 this season.
•The Bulldogs are 9-1 for the first time since 1991,
Butler’s last playoff season (NCAA Division II vs. Pittsburg
•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 fourth in the NCAA Division I FCS in fewest quarterback sacks allowed. The Bulldogs have yielded eight quarterback sacks on the season.
•Quarterback Andrew Huck is closing in on 2,500 yards in total offense. He currently ranks second in the PFL and 23rd in the NCAA Division I FCS in total offense with 2,487 yards (248.7).
•Andrew Huck became the third quarterback in Butler history to throw 20 touchdown passes in a season with his scoring aerial at Jacksonville. DeWayne Ewing threw 22 touchdown passes in 2000 and Matt Kobli tossed a school-record 23 touchdown aerials last year.
•Senior linebacker Derek Guggenberger had a career-high 12 tackles in Butler’s game against Drake last year. He later tied that career mark against Dayton.
•Defensive end Grant Hunter, who didn’t play in Butler’s last three games because of illness, has been cleared to play against Drake. Hunter led the PFL and ranked in the “Top 10” in the NCAA Division I FCS in quarterback sacks (1.07) before being sidelined.
•Sophomore Zach Watkins has moved into a tie for third place on Butler’s single season list for pass receptions (63) with Kyle Conner (2000). He needs eight receptions to catch current teammate Dan Bohrer (2008) in second place on the all-time list, and he’s 10 receptions away from Butler’s all-time record held by Tom Redmond (1972). Watkins ranks 20th in the NCAA Division I FCS in receptions per game (6.3).
•Sophomore Jordan Koopman had more than 150 all-purpose yards for the second consecutive game with 151 at Jacksonville. He returned six kickoffs for 146 yards and added one pass reception for five yards. Koopman had 156 all-purpose yards against Dayton a week earlier.
•Offensive guard Donnie Gilmore started his 32nd consecutive game for the Bulldogs in the contest at Jacksonville.