Bulldogs Host Dayton In PFL Test
HOME PROTECTION: Butler will try to improve to 2-0 in the Pioneer Football League for the first time since its championship season of 2009 when it hosts Dayton on Saturday, Sept. 29. The two Midwest foes will meet in the Butler Bowl at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs opened the conference schedule on a successful note with a 35-14 victory at home over Campbell. It was Butler's first win in a PFL-opener since 2009, when the Bulldogs went on to tie Dayton for the league title. The Bulldogs improved to 2-2 on the year and 2-0 at the Butler Bowl. Dayton dropped its PFL-opener at home to Jacksonville, 21-17. The Flyers (1-3) took the lead in that game with 1:39 remaining, but Jacksonville's Colby Walden returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Dayton has prevailed in its last two visits to the Butler Bowl, winning 33-13 in 2010 and 28-21 in overtime in 2008. The Bulldogs, who won last year's meeting at Dayton, picked up their last home win over the Flyers in 2006.
Butler has split it last six games with Dayton.
ON THE AIR: Butler football webcasts for all 11 games are available at www.butlersports.com. Play-by-play for the broadcasts will be handled by Butler graduates Brandon Gaudin '06 and Mark Minner '12, while former Butler head coach Ken LaRose will serve as the broadcast analyst.
RUSH JOB: Butler rushed for a season-high 284 yards and ran away from visiting Campbell in the PFL-opener for both teams. Quartertback Matt Lancaster and running back Trae Heeter each ran for a pair of touchddowns, while leading the Bulldogs to a 35-7 advantage in the game. Campbell scored its final touchdown with 0:01.8 remaining in the game. The win was Butler's first over Campbell since 2009 and first-ever over the Camels in the Butler Bowl. Butler's 284 rushing yards were the most by a PFL team this year.
Butler leads the PFL in rushing offense (172.5 ypg) after four games.
LEAD RUNNER: Junior Trae Heeter gained a career-high 204 yards on 21 carries, while helping lead Butler past Campbell. He rushed for 99 yards in the first half, and then picked up 105 yards on 8 carries after intermission. The former Lawrence North High School standout scored Butler's first touchdown on a seven-yard run in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead for good. He then added a career-long, 79-yard touchdown run in the third period to boost Butler's lead to 28-7. Heeter's 204 yards were the most by a Butler player since 1998, when Naim Sanders rushed for 244 yards in a victory over St. Francis (Pa.).
Trae Heeter leads the PFL in rushing (100.0 ypg) through four games.
BALL PATROL: Senior linebacker Jordan Ridley helped keep Campbell's offense in check with a season-high 17 tackles against the Camels. He had nine solo tackles and eight assists to pace Butler's defense, which limited Campbell to seven points through 59 minutes and 59 seconds. The 17 total tackles matched the third-best performance of Ridley's stellar career, trailing only his 20 tackles against Valparaiso and his 19 tackles against Campbell a year ago. Ridley also had 17 tackles against Morehead State in 2010.
Jordan Ridley has had 10 or more tackles in 18 career games at Butler.
FIELD GENERAL: Junior Matt Lancaster continued the impressive start to his Butler career with 229 yards in total offense and three touchdowns against Campbell. The Butler quarterback, in his first season of eligibility after transferring from Illinois State, completed 15 of 21 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown, and he rushed for 61 yards and two TDs on nine carries. Lancaster gave Butler a 14-0 lead in the second quarter with a three-yard scoring pass to tight end Dylan Johnson, and his nine-yard touchdown run in the third quarter made it 21-7. The 6-2 signal caller capped his day with a career-long 45-yard touchdown run to stretch Butler's margin to 35-7. Lancaster has rushed for five touchdowns and thrown for six more in his first four games with the Bulldogs.
Matt Lancaster ranks second in the PFL in scoring (7.5 ppg).
LEAGUE LEADER: Butler continues to lead the PFL in total offense with an average of 441.8 yards per game. The Bulldogs, who rolled up 452 yards in total offense in their victory over Campbell, have topped the 400-yard mark in total offense in each of their past three outings. Butler also leads the league in third-down conversions (47.4%), and the Bulldogs are second in the circuit in first downs (22.2) and third in scoring (24.8 ppg). Defensively, the Bulldogs rank second in the PFL in both total defense (329.5 ypg) and in scoring defense (21.2 ppg), while ranking third in rushing defense (168.2 ypg).
•Junior Trae Heeter posted the top rushing performance in the PFL this fall with his 204-yard effort against Campbell.
•Trae Heeter, who had 218 all-purpose yards against Campbell, ranks third in the PFL in all-purpose yards (125.8 ypg).
•Trae Heeter rushed for 142 yards on 25 carries at Dayton last year. The Butler tailback also caught five passes for 61 yards and returned two kickoffs for 46 yards to finish the afternoon with 249 all-purpose yards.
•Quarterback Matt Lancaster ranks fourth in the PFL in rushing (53.5 ypg). He's first in the league among quarterbacks.
•Matt Lancaster is third in the PFL in pass efficiency (139.3), and he's sixth in the league in passing average (225.5 ypg).
•Matt Lancaster has thrown 113 consecutive passes without an interception.
•Senior Jordan Ridley currently stands sixth in tackles in the PFL (10.8). Ridley has topped the PFL in tackles in each of the past two seasons.
•Linebacker Phillip Powell recorded a career-high ten tackles in Butler's victory over Campbell. He had a career-high five solo tackles and a career-best five assists in the win.
•Defensive tackle Glen Somers chalked up two quarterback sacks against Campbell, giving him three sacks on the year. He's currently tied for fourth in the PFL in quarterback sacks (0.75).
•Freshman Rico Watson came up with a career-long 45-yard kickoff return against Campbell. That matches the second-longest return in the PFL this fall. Watson ranks fifth in the league in kick returns (20.6 ypr).
•Junior Brendan Shannon ranks fourth in the PFL in receiving yards (67.5 ypg), and he's tied for sixth in the league in receptions (5.0 pg). Shannon led the Bulldogs against Campbell with four catches for 64 yards.
• Brendan Shannon caught a two-yard touchdown pass against the Flyers last year. He had six catches for 49 yards.
•Senior offensive lineman Matt Storey has started 26 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.