Butler Hosts Morehead State In Homecoming Tilt

ALUMNI DAY:  For the second time in three years, Butler will face Morehead State in its annual Homecoming contest.  The two Pioneer Football League teams will square off at the Butler Bowl at 1 p.m. (ET) on Saturday (Oct. 23), and the Bulldogs are hoping for a repeat performance against the Eagles.  Both PFL squads are trying to rebound from a home loss last weekend.  Butler dropped a 33-13 decision to league-leading Dayton, while Morehead State fell on its home turf to Davidson, 17-10.  The Eagles (2-4, 1-2 PFL) have lost back-to-back games since defeating Marist, 45-39, on Sept. 25.  Butler has taken two straight games from the Eagles, including a 31-21 decision in the Bulldogs’ 2008 Homecoming game.  Last year, Butler had to rally from a 21-0 second half deficit at Morehead State, before pulling out a 28-21 decision in overtime.  That win in the Bulldogs’ PFL opener helped propel Butler to a league co-championship.  Butler has dropped back-to-back games in the Butler Bowl, after compiling an eight-game homefield winning streak dating back to last year.                                                    

Butler has won two straight Homecoming contests and three of four under head coach Jeff Voris.

SCORING RUN:  Dayton overcame an early 3-0 deficit by scoring 19 unanswered point, and the visiting Flyers went on defeat Butler in last weekend’s PFL game at the Butler Bowl.  Quarterback Steve Valentino passed for 208 yards and two touchdowns, and he added 74 rushing yards on 12 carries to pace the high-scoring Dayton offense in the win.  Butler jumped in front on a 41-yard field goal by junior David Lang in the first quarter, but Valentino answered with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Boykin to give the visitors the lead for good.  Lang added a 38-yard field goal in the third quarter and senior Matt Kobli closed out Butler’s scoring with a two-yard touchdown run in the final period.    

TRIPLE THREATS:  Butler quarterbacks Andrew Huck and Matt Kobli combined for nearly 300 yards in total offense against Dayton, and both signal callers had a rushing attempt, pass completion and a pass reception in the game!  Huck, Butler’s starter, paced the Bulldogs’ offense with 256 yards in total offense.  He led the team in rushing with 81 yards on 12 attempts and in passing with 175 yards, hitting on 19 of 38 attempts.  He also caught a pass from Kobli for a one-yard gain.  Kobli added 35 rushing yards and a touchdown on six carries, and he completed one of three passes.  He also had a four-yard pass reception in the game, and he contributed one tackle.  The two rank second and third on Butler’s single season passing list.  Kobli stands second on the chart with 2,518 passing yards in 2008, while Huck holds the No. 3 position with 2,454 passing yards last season.  The two have combined for 53 career touchdown passes.   

CRASH COURSE:  Sophomore Jordan Ridley recorded his sixth consecutive game of 10 or more tackles, while leading Butler’s defense against Dayton.  He finished  with three solo tackles and seven assists to pace the Bulldogs.  The Butler linebacker is averaging 12.0 tackles over the Bulldogs’ last six outings, including a career-high 16 tackles at Youngstown State.  He currently leads the PFL in total tackles (78), tackles per game (11.1) and in total assists (52).  Ridley has the PFL’s second- (16) and fourth-highest (15 vs. Campbell) single game totals for tackles this season.

Jordan Ridley ranks 14th in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles.

BOOT CAMP:  Junior David Lang received honorable mention for national Placekicker of the Week honors from College Football Performance Awards, which are based on objective, scientific methodologies.  Lang kicked a pair of field goals against Dayton, including a career-long, 41-yard kick to give the Bulldogs an early 3-0 lead.  His 38-yard field goal in the third quarter was the third-longest of his Butler career.  Lang added a seventh point in the game with a PAT kick following Butler’s fourth-quarter touchdown.  The Butler placekicker currently ranks fourth in the PFL in kick scoring (4.7 ppg).
 
David Lang leads the PFL in field goals with seven this season.

CATCHING UP:  Junior wide receivers Zach Watkins and Jordan Koopman shared Butler’s lead with five pass receptions each against Dayton.  Watkins picked up 68 yards on his five catches, while Koopman finished with 51 receiving yards.  Koopman is currently tied for second in the PFL in receptions/game (5.3), while Watkins is just two catches back in fourth place (5.0).

YARD WORK:  Just a single yard separated Butler and Dayton in total offense in last weekend’s game.  The Flyers finished with 349 total yards, while Butler ended with 348.  Dayton picked up 138 yards on the ground and 211 through the air, while Butler countered with 172 rushing yards and 176 passing yards.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler continues to lead the PFL in total defense (305.7 ypg) and in pass defense (144.1 ypg).  The Bulldogs rank third in the league in scoring defense (22.3 ppg).  Butler stands 25th in the NCAA Division I FCS in total defense.

•Defensive end Grant Hunter had two tackles for loss against Dayton, boosting his career total to 37.5.  He ranks second on the PFL’s list for active career leaders in tackles for loss.  Hunter is the PFL’s active leader in quarterback sacks with 25.5.

•Sophomore Michael Wilson, who averaged 37.5 yards on four punts against Dayton, ranks second in the PFL in punting (40.9).  He stands 26th in Division I (FCS).

•Freshman Trae Heeter compiled 123 all-purpose yards against Dayton.  He returned five kickoffs for 111 yards, and he had 12 rushing yards on two carries.

•Quarterback Andrew Huck has moved into eighth place on Butler’s all-time passing list with 3,556 career yards.  He’s 179 yards behind Ron Kiolbassa (1987-90) in seventh place and 234 yards behind Jason Stahl (1992-94) in the No. 6 spot.

•Wide receiver Zach Watkins is two yards shy of Tom Wallace (1,556, 1979-82) in the No. 10 spot on Butler’s all-time list for pass receiving yards.  Watkins has racked up 1,564 yards in 27 career games.

•Zach Watkins stands third on Butler’s all-time list for receptions with 141 career catches.  He trails Eric Voss (1990-93) in second place on the all-time chart by a single catch.

•Senior cornerback Tadd Dombart, who had a season-high six tackles and one pass breakup against Dayton, is the active leader in the PFL in passes defended (20).

•Tadd Dombart ranks sixth in the PFL in punt return average (6.1).

•Senior offensive tackle Mike Staniewicz has started 30 consecutive games and 40 of 41 games during his Butler career.

•Butler starting running back Scott Gray (hand), starting safety Mark Giacomantonio (knee) and senior captain Donnie Gilmore (knee) are sidelined with injuries.  Gilmore, who had started 37 consecutive games on the offensive line for Butler, was injured in the Taylor game.