Late Field Goal Lifts Butler At Dayton
DAYTON, OHIO -- Senior Andrew Huck passed for 255 yards and three touchdowns and senior David Lang kicked a decisive field goal with 1:31 remaining to give Butler a 29-27 victory over Dayton at Welcome Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1. The win lifted the Bulldogs to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Pioneer Football League.
Lang's field goal, his third of the day, capped a 10-play, 59-yard drive for the Bulldogs. Huck engineered the decisive drive, which began at the Butler 23-yard line with 4:57 remaining in the game and the Bulldogs trailing, 27-26. The Butler signal caller completed three passes for 53 yards to help the Bulldogs reach the Dayton 17-yard line, but that's where the drive stalled.
Head coach Jeff Voris called on Lang on fourth down, and the senior placekicker delivered a 35-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs in front of the defending PFL co-champs. Butler then sealed the victory 27 seconds later, when linebacker Nick Caldicott intercepted a Dayton pass at midfield.
"That was a great win," Butler head coach Jeff Voris said after the game. "All three units, offense, defense and special teams, made plays for us, and we competed for 60 minutes. It's hard to come in here and win. You have to earn everything you get, and we did that today."
The win was Butler's second straight at Welcome Stadium. The Bulldogs also defeated Dayton on the Flyers' home field in 2009 on the way to earning a share of the PFL title.
The Flyers (3-2, 1-1 PFL) entered the game with the PFL's best defense, allowing just 311.8 yards and 13.0 points per game. Butler rolled up 401 yards in the contest and posted the highest point total on the Flyer's defense this year. And Butler's defensive limited the Flyers to 240 total yards.
Huck connected on 28 of 45 pass attempts with no interceptions. He tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Zach Watkins to give Butler an early 7-0 lead, and he found Jeff Larsen from four yards out in the closing seconds of the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 16-14 halftime lead. Huck also threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Shannon in the third quarter.
Butler started strongly, marching 83 yards in 11 plays on its first possession to grab the early lead. Huck passed for 42 yards on the drive, and sophomore Trae Heeter added 29 yards on five rushing attempts. Heeter finished the game with 142 rushing yards on 25 carries.
The Bulldogs made it 10-0 on Lang's career-long 46-yard field goal right before the end of the first quarter, but Dayton scored a pair of second period touchdowns to grab a 14-10 advantage.
The two teams traded leads in the third quarter on a pair of touchdown passes, and then Dayton's Pat Dowd came up with what looked like the biggest play of the game. With 12:59 remaining, Dowd blocked a Michael Wilson punt, scooped the ball up and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown to put the Flyers in front, 27-23.
The Bulldogs cut the margin to one point on Lang's 35-yard field goal with 7:52 remaining, and Butler's defense stopped the Flyers on five plays on their next possession to set the stage for the game-winning drive.
Huck finished with 263 yard in total offense, while Heeter posted 239 all-purpose yards. Watkins, Butler's all-time leading pass receiver, had nine catches in the game for 55 yards, while Shannon caught six passes for 49 yards.
Defensive end Jeff Poss and linebacker Jordan Ridley paced Butler's defense with seven tackles apiece. Safety Andy Dauch had an interception and a 12-yard return and linebacker Paul Yanow came up with a fumble recovery for the Bulldogs.
Butler will play its second consecutive PFL road game when it visits Campbell on Saturday, Oct. 8.