First Half Sinks Bulldogs

First Half Sinks Bulldogs

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Quarterback Tommy Reilly passed for 283 yards and two touchdowns to lead visiting Marist to a 28-10 victory over Butler in front of a Homecoming crowd at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 22.  The loss left the Bulldogs at 4-4 on the year and 2-3 in the Pioneer Football League.

Reilly completed 21 of 24 passes on the afternoon, with just one interception.  He guided the Red Foxes (3-5, 2-3 PFL) on three first half scoring drives and helped the visitors to a 21-3 halftime advantage.  The two teams traded touchdowns in the second half for the final margin.

"We knew they were a good football team coming in," said Butler head coach Jeff Voris after the game.  "They've had a great schedule and where they struggled was when they turned the ball over.  Today, they played outstanding.  They made every play they had to make.  I thought our guys played with great effort, but Marist played better."

The Bulldogs, coming off a 42-14 win a home over Valparaiso, appeared primed for a quick start in front of a crowd of 4,085.  On the third play of the first half, defensive back Jack McKenna picked off a Reilly pass and gave Butler a first down at the Marist 26-yard line.

Quarterback Andrew Huck quickly hit wide receiver Zach Watkins with a 13-yard strike, but an illegal forward pass penalty on the next play sent the Bulldogs back to the Marist 17.  Two plays later, Butler had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by senior David Lang.

The rest of the first half belonged to Marist.  Reilly tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Calcagni to give the Red Foxes the lead with 5:38 left in the first quarter, and then he guided a 68-yard scoring drive that culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Matt Gray to start the second period.

Marist finished the first half with a four-yard Reilly to Byron Gardner touchdown pass.

Butler suffered two key injuries shortly before halftime.  Linebacker Nick Caldicott was helped off the field after making a tackle on the final Marist scoring drive of the half, and Huck was injured while being sacked on the final play of the half.  Neither player returned in the second half.

The Red Foxes stretched the margin to 28-3 on a on-yard touchdown run by Atiq Lucas in the third period, before Butler closed the scoring on a 29-yard touchdown pass from redshirt-freshman Wade Markley to senior Jeff Larsen with 3:53 left in the game.

"I thought defensively we really played well in the second half," said Voris.  "We kept lining up and playing."  

"The big thing with us is when we play well, we take advantage of the other side of the ball's opportunistic play.  When we get a stop, we work well off each other and we force teams to have to beat us.  Today, we had too many penalties, too many turnovers, and provided opportunities for our opponent that we're usually getting on our end when we play well" continued the Butler coach.

Marist out-gained Butler, 431-284, and the Red Foxes had a 38:58-21:02 advantage in time of possession.  Butler's quarterbacks combined for three pass interceptions.

Markley, seeing his first Butler action, topped the Bulldogs with five of six passing for 83 yards and one touchdown, while Huck finished with eight of 13 passing for 78 yards.  Don Stewart, Jr., led the Bulldogs on the ground with 55 yards on 12 carries.

Senior Andy Dauch sparked Butler's defense with a career-high 14 tackles, including 12 solo stops.  Junior Jordan Ridley, who leads the PFL in tackles, finished with 12 stops, while sophomore Jayme Szafranski added 10 tackles.

Butler will have a week off, before returning to action with a home game against Davidson on Saturday, Nov. 5.  That game at the Butler Bowl is slated to start at noon.