Butler Falls At Dartmouth

Butler Falls At Dartmouth
Wide receiver Derek O'Connor (photo by Zach Bolinger)

HANOVER, N.H. -- Host Dartmouth used a balanced offensive attack and a resilient defense to stifle Butler, 35-7, in a non-conference test at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Saturday evening (Sept. 15).  It was the Bulldogs' first game against a team from the Ivy League.

Tailback Dominick Pierre rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Alex Park completed 15 of 20 passes for 184 yards and another score to pace Dartmouth's offense.  The defensive unit surrendered 416 yards to the Bulldogs, but allowed only a single second quarter touchdown.

Dartmouth, playing its first game of 2012, needed just 14 seconds to grab the upper hand.  Senior Miles Gay took the opening kickoff at his own 15-yard line and broke loose for an 85-yard touchdown run to put his team in front before either team's offense could take the field.

The Big Green stretched that margin to 14-0 on its first offensive possession when Pierre capped a nine-play, 76-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown.  Dartmouth led 21-7 at halftime and added two more scores in the second half.

Butler (1-2) moved the ball effectively throughout the the game, but the Bulldogs had two drives stopped inside the Dartmouth 10-yard line and one other inside the Dartmouth 25.  The Bulldogs missed two scoring opportunities in the first quarter, including one when quarterback Matt Lancaster fumbled at the Dartmouth 10-yard line.  And in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs failed to capitalize on a first-and-goal situation from the Dartmouth two-yard line.

The Bulldogs did answer Dartmouth's second touchdown with a 15-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a five-yard scoring pass from Lancaster to wide receiver Derek O'Connor.  Lancaster completed nine passes on the drive, including a 23-yard strike to O'Connor that gave Butler a first down at the Dartmouth 11-yard line.

O'Connor caught a career-high nine passes in the game for a career-best 164 yards.  His final receiving total tied the 12th-highest single game total in Butler football history.  Sophomore JT Mesch added a career-high eight catches for 67 yards.

Lancaster, in just his third game for the Bulldogs, completed a career-best 23 of 35 passes for a career-high 267 yards.  Sophomore Wade Markley came off the bench in the fourth quarter and completed eight of 17 passes for an additional 80 yards.

Junior Trae Heeter led Butler's ground attack with 61 yards on seven carries, and he added 25 yards on four pass receptions.

Junior Jeremy Stephens and Jay Brummel paced Butler's defensive unit with eight tackles apiece.  Stephens had one quarterback sack and one pass break-up in the contest.

Butler will begin Pioneer Football League play at home with a game against Campbell on Saturday, Sept. 22.  That contest at the Butler Bowl will start a 12 p.m. (ET).