Bulldogs Run Past Campbell In PFL Opener

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Junior running back Trae Heeter

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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Junior Trae Heeter rushed for a career-high 204 yards and two touchdowns and Butler pulled away to hand visiting Campbell a 35-14 setback at the Butler Bowl on Saturday (Sept. 22).  It was the Pioneer Football League opener for both teams.

The Bulldogs (2-2, 1-0 PFL) rolled up over 400 yards in total offense for the third straight game and scored more than 30 points for the second time in three outings.  Included in Butler's 452 total yards was a season-high 284 rushing yards.

"I thought we played well for 60 minutes, and that was kind of the emphasis all week," Butler head coach Jeff Voris said of the win.  "We talked about that we've played well in spurts; we've played well for halves.  Not only did we have to compete for 60 minutes, but we had to play complimentary football. The offense and the defense had to work better off each other and set up opportunities for each unit, and the special teams were involved in that, too."

Heeter made his presence felt right from the start.  He sparked an 81-yard scoring drive on Butler's first possession in the game, rushing for 64 yards on five carries and capping the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.  The former Lawrence North High School standout finished the first half with 99 rushing yards on 13 carries, and he was just getting started.

The Butler tailback continued to pound away in the third quarter, and late in the period, he electrified the crowd with a career-long 79-yard touchdown run to stretch Butler's lead to 28-7.  He left the game late in the final period after topping the 200-yard mark on 21 carries.  His final total was the most by a Butler player since 1998, when Naim Sanders rushed for 244 yards on 38 carries against St. Francis (Pa.).   

"The (offensive) line did a great job opening holes.  The receivers blocked well on the outside and there were running lanes everywhere," noted Heeter after the game.  "We just did our base stuff and we were able to break some big plays."

Butler's defense, led by senior linebacker Jordan Ridley, also turned in a big afternoon, limiting the Camels (1-3) to just seven points through 59 minutes and 59 seconds.  The visitors scored their final touchdown with one second remaining in the contest.

Ridley finished with a season-high 17 tackles, including a season-best nine solo stops.  Teammate Phillip Powell finished with ten total tackles.

"It was a good day for us," said Ridley.  "The (defensive) line kept people off of me and all the linebackers all day, and we all hit our keys and hit our assignments.  When you go against a team like Campbell, you have to play assignment football, and we did a good job of that today."

Butler's defense came up with four quarterback sacks on the afternoon, including two by sophomore Glen Somers, and one fumble recovery by linebacker Jordan Massey.

Junior quarterback Matt Lancaster continued his strong early season performance with 229 total yards, two rushing touchdowns and one passing TD.  He hit on 15 of 21 passes for 168 yards, including a three-yard scoring strike to tight end Dylan Johnson, and he rushed for 61 yards on nine attempts.  He scored Butler's third touchdown on a nine yards run in the third quarter, and then he closed out Butler's scoring with a career-long 45-yard run in the final period.

Lancaster is averaging 280.2 yards in total offense through Butler's first four contests.

Junior Brendan Shannon led Butler's receivers with four catches for 64 yards.

The Bulldogs will continue their current homestand with a PFL game against Dayton on Saturday, Sept. 29.  That game at the Butler Bowl will start at 1 p.m.