Bulldogs Visit Powerful Jacksonville

Butler at Jacksonville
Saturday, Nov. 12, Noon (ET)
D.B. Milne Field, Jacksonville, Fla.

ROAD CHALLENGE:  The Bulldogs will try to do something no other Butler team has ever accomplished when they visit Jacksonville for a Pioneer Football League game on Saturday, Nov. 12.  The game at Jacksonville’s D. B. Milne Field is scheduled for a noon (ET) kickoff.  Butler is looking for its first victory over Jacksonville.  The two PFL foes have met just six times, and the Dolphins have captured all six meetings.  Butler is 0-3 at Milne Field, including a 36-7 setback two years ago - the Bulldogs’ only loss in a school-record 11-1 campaign.  Jacksonville (6-3, 5-1 PFL) shared the PFL title a year ago, and the Dolphins enter this weekend’s action one-half game behind league-leading Drake in the PFL standings.  Drake defeated Jacksonville, 31-24, a week ago, snapping the Dolphins’ 16-game PFL winning streak.  Butler (5-4, 3-3 PFL) is coming off a 17-7 victory over Davidson.  That game closed out the home portion of the Bulldogs’ 2011 schedule.  Butler will wrap-up the season with back-to-back road contests at Jacksonville and Morehead State.        

Butler is 2-2 on the road this season.

BIG PLAYS:  Visiting Davidson won the offensive statistics battle, but the Bulldogs captured the victory, 17-7, behind several key defensive plays in last weekend’s game.  Butler’s defense came up with three pass interceptions, one fumble recovery and five quarterback sacks to hold the visiting Wildcats in check.  All three interceptions came within 10 yards of the Butler goal-line, while the fumble recovery came at the Butler 13-yard line.  Butler had a 17-0 lead, before Davidson scored with 1:51 left in the third quarter.  The Wildcats out-gained Butler, 379-271, in total offense and had a 26-12 advantage in first downs.

AIR CHECK:  Redshirt-freshman Wade Markley, getting his first collegiate start at quarterback, passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns to help spark the Bulldogs past Davidson.  Markley tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to senior Stuart Harvey in the second quarter to give Butler the lead, and then he closed the Bulldogs’ scoring with a 24-yard scoring aerial to tight end Matt Jenson.  Markely completed 15 of 22 passes with no interceptions in the win.    

LEG WORK:  Senior David Lang moved into a tie for second place on the PFL’s all-time list for field goals with a successful 23-yard kick against Davidson.  It was his 12th field goal this season and the 33rd of his Butler career.  He tied San Diego’s Hutch Parker (2004-07) for the No. 2 spot on the league’s all-time list.  The PFL’s all-time record is 49 field goals by Drake’s Billy Cundiff (1998-2001).  Lang currently leads the PFL in field goals (12), and he’s tied for third in the league in field goal percentage (.857).  He’s two field goals shy of his own Butler season record.      

David Lang needs one field goal to tie the Butler all-time record (34), set by John Jenkins (1985-88).

BUSY AFTERNOON:  Linebacker Jordan Ridley became quite familiar with a number of Davidson ball-carriers in the Bulldogs’ PFL win.  The Butler junior led all players in the game with 16 tackles, including five solo stops.  He also had a forced fumble and one pass break-up in the contest.  It was the seventh time in nine games that Ridley has recorded a double-digit tackles’ performance, and the third time this year that he’s had as many as 16 tackles in a game.  The hard-working defender, who had a career-high 20 tackles in a Butler victory over Valparaiso earlier this season, owns the PFL’s top two single game totals for tackles this year.

Jordan Ridley leads the PFL in tackles per game (13.3).  

TOP CATCHER:  Butler’s all-time leading pass receiver, Zach Watkins, led the Bulldogs with five catches for 90 yards against Davidson. That effort boosted his career totals to 236 pass receptions for 2,740 yards.  His career catches and career yards both are school records, while his 20 career touchdown catches are just two shy of the all-time school mark (22), set by former teammate Dan Bohrer (2006-09).  Watkins currently holds three of Butler’s top six single season totals for receptions - No. 1 (78 in 2009), No. 4 (68 in 2010) and No. 6 (62 in 2011).      

Zach Watkins ranks second in the PFL in receptions/game (6.9) and receiving yards/game (87.8).    

SIGNAL CHANGE:  Butler will start its third different quarterback in as many games, when it takes the field at Jacksonville.  Senior Andrew Huck, who stands second on Butler’s all-time passing list, suffered a shoulder injury in Butler’s game against Marist, and No. 2 quarterback Tom Judge sustained an injury prior to the Davidson contest.  Redshirt-freshman Wade Markley, who started Butler’s game against Davidson, will sit out a one-game, team-imposed suspension this week, but Judge has returned to the lineup.  Judge, who’s played in three games this season, will be making his first collegiate start.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Linebacker Jordan Ridley currently ranks third in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles (13.3).  He’s one of just five players in the FCS with at least 120 tackles this season.

•Wide receiver Zach Watkins is ranked 10th in the NCAA Division I FCS in pass receptions per game (6.89), and he stands 16th in the nation in receiving yards per game (87.78).

•Zach Watkins had a season-high nine receptions for 92 yards in Butler’s home game against Jacksonville last year.

•Senior Jordan Koopman, who caught one pass against Davidson, has moved into fifth place on Butler’s all-time list for pass receptions with 125.

•David Lang leads the PFL and is tied for 19th in the NCAA FCS in field goals per game (1.33).  He stands second in the league in kick scoring (6.8) and fourth in the circuit in overall scoring.

•David Lang kicked three field goals against Jacksonville last year.  He hit from 26 yards, 32 yards and 33 yards in the game at the Butler Bowl.

•Sophomore linebacker Phillip Powell came up with his first career pass interception in Butler’s game against Davidson.  His theft at the Butler 10-yard line was one of three interceptions on the afternoon by the Bulldogs.  Senior Andy Dauch intercepted a Davidson pass at the Butler six-yard line and sophomore Jayme Szafranski picked off a pass at the Butler one-yard line.

•Defensive end Grant Hunter, who had one of Butler’s five quarterback sacks against Davidson, boosted his career total for quarterback sacks to 32.5.

•Senior offensive lineman Pete Mattingly has started 37 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.

•Running back Trae Heeter, who ranks third in the PFL in rushing (77.0), returned to action in Butler’s game against Davidson.  He led the Bulldogs in rushing with 43 yards on 12 carries in the win.

•Trae Heeter is ranked second in the PFL in all-purpose yards (151.6).

•Senior linebacker Nick Caldicott, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Marist, finished his career with 171  tackles.