September 7, 2011

Butler Faces Former Long-Time Rival Indiana State

STATE MEET:  Butler will renew a football rivalry that has been dormant for more than three decades when it visits Indiana State for a non-league game on Saturday, Sept. 10.  The contest at Indiana State’s Memorial Stadium is slated for 2 p.m. (ET).  Butler and Indiana State were former conference foes in the Indiana Collegiate Conference, but the two teams have not met on the gridiron since 1974.  Prior to that final meeting, the two teams had played every season since 1949.  Butler, from the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, will be facing a team from the Missouri Valley Football Conference for the second consecutive season.  Last year, the Bulldogs dropped a 31-7 decision at Youngstown State.  Indiana State opened the 2011 season at Big Ten power Penn State, falling 41-7.  The Bulldogs jumped to a quick start in their home-opener against Albion and held on to post a 31-17 victory.  Butler and Indiana State will be meeting for the 35th time as football opponents.    

Butler’s last football win over Indiana State in Terre Haute came in 1965.

SUCCESSFUL START:  Butler scored on its first five possessions in the contest and pulled away to a 31-3 halftime lead against Albion in the season-opener for both teams.  That initial offensive burst proved to be more than enough for the Bulldogs, who held on to post a 14-point win in the non-league game.  Butler put together scoring drives of 56-yards, 79-yards, 14-yards, 55- yards and 66-yards in the first half to build the big lead.  The Bulldogs had a 13:42-1:18 advantage in possession time in the first quarter and a 19:59-10:01 advantage in the first half.     

Butler improved to 5-1 in season-openers under head coach Jeff Voris.

ON TARGET:  Senior quarterback Andrew Huck (right) was throwing with laser-like precision in the first half against Albion.  The Butler signal caller connected on his first 19 pass attempts in the game, setting a Butler record for consecutive pass completions.  The previous record was 12 straight completions, shared by DeWayne Ewing (vs. Valparaiso, 2001) and Matt Kobli (vs. Albion, 2008).  The NCAA Division I FCS record for consecutive completions is 28, set by Richie Williams of Appalachian State against Furman in 2004.  Huck finished the first half with 19-19 passing for 212 yards and three touchdowns.  His first pass attempt in the second half was incomplete, and he went on to finish the game with 22 completions in 26 attempts with one interception for 235 yards and three touchdowns.  The 22 completions tied the seventh-highest single game total of Huck’s Butler career, while the 235 yards were his sixth-highest single game total.  It was the fifth time in Huck’s career that the Butler quarterback threw for at least three touchdowns in a game. 

Andrew Huck’s 190.9 passing efficiency mark against Albion was the best among starters in the PFL’s opening week.

RECEIVING LINE:  Seniors Zach Watkins and Jordan Koopman each had seven pass receptions in Butler’s victory over Albion.  Watkins compiled 80 receiving yards and one touchdown in the game, while Koopman finished with 76 yards.  Both players continued to climb on Butler’s all-time pass receiving lists.  Watkins became the fourth player in Butler football history to record more than 2,000 career receiving yards, and he enters this week’s action needing just 40 yards to catch Adam Lafferty (2,070 yards, 1999-2002) in third place on the Bulldogs’ all-time list.  Watkins also boosted his career total for receptions to 181, just 11 catches behind Butler all-time leader and former teammate Dan Bohrer (2006-09).  Koopman, who increased his career total for receptions to 92, is bidding to become the 13th Butler football player to record 100 career catches.  He’s also just 53 yards shy of joining Butler’s 1,000-yard career receiving club.   

HIT PARADE:  The Bulldogs had 23 different players record a tackle or assist in the victory over Albion, paced by senior safety Andy Dauch with a career-high eight stops.  Sophomore safety Jayme Szafranski and junior linebacker Jordan Ridley each added seven tackles, while freshman Zack Sedivy, in his first collegiate contest, finished with six.  Seven different Butler players each recorded his first career tackle in the win.

Junior Jordan Ridley has averaged 11.4 tackles in Butler’s last 12 games.

SPECIAL DELIVERY:  Head coach Jeff Voris expected strong special teams play this season, and he wasn’t disappointed in Butler’s opener.  Junior Michael Wilson averaged a Pioneer Football League-best 43.5 yards on a pair of punts in the win, while senior placekicker David Lang was perfect on four PAT kicks and a 19-yard field goal attempt.  Senior Jordan Koopman averaged a league-best 21.5 yards on two punt returns, and sophomore Trae Heeter averaged 22.0 yards on three kickoff returns. 

BULLDOG BITS:

•Quarterback Andrew Huck boosted his career passing total to 4,554 yards in Butler’s victory over Albion.  He currently stands fifth on Butler’s all-time list for passing yards, seven yards behind Curt Roy (1979-83) in fourth place and 276 yards behind Steve Clayton (1970-73) in the No. 3 spot.

•Andrew Huck was one of nine PFL players recognized with a College Football Performance Award for his effort against Albion.  CFPA hands out weekly awards based on objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.

•Sophomore Trae Heeter made his first collegiate start at running back against Albion, and he wound up leading the Bulldogs in rushing with 42 yards on 12 carries.  He scored his second career rushing touchdown with a six-yard run in the first quarter.

•Senior defensive end Grant Hunter had two tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries against Albion.  Hunter boasts 41.5 tackles for loss, including 25.5 quarterback sacks, during his Butler career.

•Sophomore Matt Jenson, who hadn’t played football in two years, showed no signs of rust in the Bulldogs’ season-opener.  The Butler tight end scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Andrew Huck, and he added a second catch for 24 yards.  Jenson spent the past two years on a mission trip to Mexico.  

•Defensive back David Burke had an immediate impact in his first collegiate game.  The redshirt freshman forced a fumble on the Bulldogs’ second kickoff in the game, which led to Butler’s second touchdown.  He later added a tackle and an assist in the contest.

•Senior placekicker David Lang boosted his career total for field goals to 22 with his successful 19-yard kick against Albion.  Lang has kicked at least one field goal in seven of Butler’s last eight games.   

•Senior offensive lineman Pete Mattingly has started 29 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.

•Butler is 14-5 in non-league games under head coach Jeff Voris.