November 11, 2010

Butler Visits Drake For Season Finale

ROAD CLOSING:  Butler will close out its 2010 schedule on the road when it visits Drake on Saturday, Nov. 13.  The Pioneer Football League game at Drake Stadium will start at 1 p.m. (CT, 2 p.m. in Indianapolis).  Both teams are trying to rebound from a tough loss to a PFL co-leader last weekend.  Butler (4-6, 2-5 PFL) fell at home to Jacksonville, after taking a three-point lead into the final period.  The visiting Jaguars scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 24-16 come-from-behind victory.  Drake (6-4, 5-2 PFL) is coming off a last-second loss at Dayton in its last outing.  Quarterback Steve Valentino threw a touchdown pass to Luke Bellman with one second remaining to lift the host Flyers to a 31-25 victory.  Drake had taken a 25-24 lead with 1:22 remaining in the game on a 27-yard field goal by Billy Janssen.  Butler is trying to record a fifth victory for the third consecutive year, something that hasn’t happed in the program in the past 17 years.     
                                                           
Butler is 3-2 on the road this season.

LATE RALLY:  League co-leader Jacksonville needed a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to overcome a determined Butler squad in the Bulldogs’ final 2010 home contest.  Butler jumped to a 10-0 lead in the game and held a 10-7 advantage at halftime.  The lead remained three, 13-10, in the fourth quarter, when Jacksonville quarterback Josh McGregor engineered a pair of scoring drives.  The Jaguars’ signal caller found Josh Philpart with a 27-yard scoring strike with 11:36 remaining to give the visitors their first lead in the game, 17-10, and then led a short scoring drive five minutes later following a Butler turnover.  Running back Rudell Small scored from two yards out to give Jacksonville an 11-point advantage, and ultimately seal the decision.  Butler held the nation’s top scoring team to 21 points below its season scoring average and 165 yards below its season total offense average.  The 24 points were the fewest scored by Jacksonville in a PFL game this season.

STAT GAME:  The Bulldogs had a 383-341 advantage in total offense and a 26-20 edge in first downs against Jacksonville.  Butler also led in possession time in the game, 34:45-25:15.  The Bulldogs limited Jacksonville to just 78 rushing yards in the game.
       
Butler leads the PFL in total defense (306.9).

KICK MARK:  Junior placekicker David Lang kicked three field goals against Jacksonville, boosting his season total to a school-record 14.  He hit from 26 yards, 32 yards and 33 yards in the contest.  His first field goal gave Butler a 10-0 lead in the second quarter and erased the previous Butler single season record of 11 that he shared with Tim Witmer (1990) and John Jenkins (1987).
     
David Lang Leads the PFL in field goals.

PASSING GRADE:  Junior quarterback Andrew Huck completed 28 of 49 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville.  The 28 completions and 248 yards both tied his second-highest totals of the season, while his 49 attempts were the most this year.  Huck added 29 rushing yards in the game, finishing with 277 yards in total offense - his second-highest total of the year.  Huck’s passing effort moved him into fifth place on Butler’s all-time passing list.  He trails Curt Roy (1979-83) in fourth place on the all-time Butler list by 391 yards.

Andrew Huck became just the sixth quarterback in Butler history to pass for more than 4,000 career yards.

GETTING DEFENSIVE:  Sophomore Jordan Ridley chalked up a game-high 12 tackles to pace the Bulldogs’ effort against Jacksonville.  It was the ninth consecutive game that the second-year linebacker  topped the Bulldogs in tackles and the eighth time in nine games that he recorded at least 10 tackles.  Ridley had five solo tackles, seven assists and one forced fumble in the contest.

Jordan Ridley leads the PFL and ranks 10th in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles (11.50).

CATCHING UP:  Junior wide receiver Zach Watkins matched his season-high for receptions and tied his second-most receiving yards of the season with nine catches for 92 yards against Jacksonville.  Earlier this season, Watkins had nine receptions in a win over Taylor, and he had 92 receiving yards a week earlier at Valparaiso.  He had a season-high 118 yards against Morehead State, giving him 302 yards in Butler’s last three outings.  Watkins, who stands second on Butler’s all-time list for pass receptions (166), moved into sixth place on Butler’s all-time list for receiving yards with 1,866.  He trails Tom Redmond (1970-72) in fifth place on Butler’s all-time list by 67 yards.

AIR SUPPORT:  Despite giving up 263 passing yards against Jacksonville, Butler continues to lead the PFL in pass defense.  The Bulldogs have held seven of 10 opponents below 200 passing yards and are yielding an average of 165.9 yards.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Sophomore tight end Carter Walley came up with his first touchdown catch of the season and the second of his Butler career in the Bulldogs’ game against Jacksonville.  Walley caught a three-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to give Butler an early lead in the contest.

•Senior linebacker Andrew Cottrell recorded his first career pass interception and returned it 16 yards against Jacksonville to set up Butler’s second field goal in the game.

•Linebacker Nick Caldicott set the stage for Butler’s winning score against Drake last year with a pass interception in the final minute.  His theft led to the Bulldogs final scoring drive.

•Senior running back Scott Gray, who led the Bulldogs against Jacksonville with 48 rushing yards, has moved into tenth place on Butler’s all-time rushing list with 1,909 career yards.  He trails Richard Johnson (1990-93) in the No. 9 spot by 11 yards.

•Sophomore Michael Wilson, who had just two punts against Jacksonville, ranks fourth in the PFL in punting (39.2).  He’s tied for the league lead in punts inside the 20 (15).

•Freshman Trae Heeter returned four kickoffs for 83 yards against Jacksonville.  He continues to rank fourth in the PFL in kickoff returns (21.6).

•Wide receiver Zach Watkins ranks second in the PFL in receptions (6.0) and stands seventh in the league in receiving yards (61.9).  Teammate Jordan Koopman, who caught six passes for 64 yards against Jacksonville, ranks fourth in the league receptions (4.7) and 10th in receiving yards (50.3).

•Zach Watkins caught 11 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown in Butler’s victory over Drake last season.  Watkins caught a 19-yard pass with 0:18 left to give Butler a first down at the Drake 14-yard line.

•Senior Tadd Dombart continues to rank sixth in the PFL in punt return average (8.5).
 
•Senior offensive tackle Mike Staniewicz has started 33 consecutive games and 43 of 44 games during his Butler career.

•Butler played the final seven games this season without senior captain Donnie Gilmore.  Gilmore, who had started 37 consecutive games on the offensive line for Butler, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Taylor game.