Third Quarter Sinks Bulldogs At Indiana State

TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Butler's bid to upset a full-scholarship NCAA Division I FCS program was derailed in the third quarter at Indiana State's Memorial Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 10), and the host Sycamores went on to defeat the Bulldogs, 48-34, in the non-league contest.  It was the first meeting between the two teams in 37 years.

The Sycamores (1-1) scored 20 unanswered points in the third period and turned a one-point halftime lead into a 21-point advantage heading into the final quarter.  Butler did strike back with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to overcome the home team's lead.

"We let things get away from us for a 10-minute stretch in the third quarter," said Butler head coach Jeff Voris.  "We tried to fight back, but we ran out of time."

Indiana State pulled away with back-to-back touchdowns in the first six minutes of the third quarter.  Holding on to a 21-20 halftime lead, the Sycamores struck less than three minutes into the second half on a 45-yard touchdown run by Brock Lough, who wound up with 131 rushing yards on the day.

Less than three minutes later, Indiana State quarterback Ronnie Fouch, a transfer from Washington, found wide receiver Donald Spencer with a 26-yard scoring pass.  The Sycamores added a third touchdown later in the third quarter on a two-yard run by Ben Obaseki, his second touchdown run of the game.

"They're an explosive team," said Voris.  "You have to make them earn it and for the most part we were doing that.  We were unable to move the ball early in the third quarter, and we let them gain the momentum."

The first half was a standoff.  The Sycamores mounted a 67-yard scoring drive in two-and-a-half minutes after the opening kickoff, but the Bulldogs stormed right back and tied the game on a nifty, 19-yard halfback pass from Brandon Grubbe to Jeff Larsen.

The Bulldogs (1-1) then took their first lead on David Lang's 30-yard field goal, following a fumble recovery by linebacker Jordan Ridley.  The lead was short-lived, though, when Leonard Riston returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

But the Bulldogs went back on top on a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Huck (left) to wide receiver Jordan Koopman.  Lang then followed Lough's first touchdown run with a second 30-yard field goal to make it a one-point game at halftime.

Indiana State pulled away to a 48-20 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs battled back with a pair of Huck touchdown passes.  The first to tight end Matt Jenson covered 15 yards and the second to Koopman came from eight yards out.  Butler also threatened in the final minute, but Huck was intercepted at the Indiana State 30-yard line to end the comeback attempt.

"We went toe-to-toe with them and competed," said Voris.  "It should give us the confidence that we can play with anyone on our schedule, if we play together, play as a team and trust each other."

The Bulldogs rolled up 429 yards in total offense in the game, including 289 passing yards by Huck.  The senior signal caller completed 30 of 41 attempts with just the one interception.  Senior Zach Watkins caught nine passes for 136 yards, while Larsen had a career-high 10 catches for 82 yards.  Freshman Trae Heeter led the Bulldogs to 121 rushing yards with 74 yards on 16 carries.

Ridley led Butler's defense with 12 tackles, while defensive back Sean Grade added 11 and one forced fumble.  Indiana State finished with 456 total yards, including 224 on the ground.

Lang was perfect for the second straight week, hitting both of his field goal attempts and all four of his extra point kick attempts.

The Bulldogs will be on the road for a second consecutive week when the visit Taylor for a non-league game on Saturday, Sept. 17.  That game will start at 1 p.m. (ET).

(Photos by Brent Smith)