Bulldogs Face First League Road Trip

Bulldogs Face First League Road Trip
Junior defensive end Jeremy Stephens

ROAD TRIP:  Butler, 2-0 in the Pioneer Football League for the first time since 2009, will try to continue its strong start when it faces its first league road test at Valparaiso on Saturday, Oct. 6.  The 1 p.m. (CT, 2 p.m. in Indianapolis) game at Valparaiso's Brown Field will be the first of consecutive PFL road games for the Bulldogs.  Butler climbed to 3-2 on the season and remained unbeaten in the PFL with a 21-11 victory over Dayton at the Butler Bowl.  The win was Butler's third in the last four meetings with the Flyers.  Valparaiso (0-4, 0-1 PFL) is returning to action after having an open date on its schedule last weekend.  The Crusaders dropped their PFL-opener at San Diego on Sept. 22.  Butler and Valparaiso, the PFL's two Indiana members, have split their last four games at Brown FIeld with Butler claiming the last two.  Following the Valparaiso contest, the Bulldogs will continue on the road with a game at Marist on Oct. 13.             

Butler and Valparaiso have met as football opponents in every year since 1951.

GAME BROADCAST:  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 Miner '12, while former Butler head coach Ken LaRose will serve as analyst.

HOOSIER HELMET:  The Hoosier Helmet Trophy was added to the long-standing Butler-Valparaiso football series in 2006.  The white helmet on a wooden base features a Valparaiso logo on one side and a Butler logo on the other side.  It is presented to the winner of the annual contest after the game.  The Bulldogs have captured the helmet in five of the previous six trophy games, including the last four.

HOME RULE:  The Bulldogs took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter and never relinquished it, while handing visiting Dayton a 10-point setback at the Butler Bowl.  It was Butler's third win at home in as many attempts this season.  Tight end Brian Knight gave Butler the lead for good with a 28-yard touchdown reception late in the first half, and running back Trae Heeter added a pair of second half touchdowns to help keep the Bulldogs on top.  
LEAGUE HONOR:  Junior running back Trae Heeter was named Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Butler's victory over Dayton.  The Lawrence North High School product rushed for 159 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' win.  He had a 41-yard scoring run in the third quarter, and then, with Butler clinging to a 14-11 lead late in the final period, he added a 78-yard touchdown run to clinch the victory.

Trae Heeter leads the Pioneer Football League in rushing (111.8 ypg).  
PRESSURE POINT:  Junior defensive end Jeremy Stephens sparked Butler's defensive effort against Dayton with a game-high nine tackles, including two quarterback sacks.  The nine stops matched his career-high total.  Stephens helped stop a Dayton drive late in the fourth quarter with a quarterback sack for a seven-yard loss.  He then picked up a second sack for a five-yard loss on Dayton's final drive of the game.  The football website College Sports Madness named the former Lawrence Central High School standout PFL Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Dayton.

Jeremy Stephens had nine tackles in Butler's victory over Valparaiso last year.

NATIONAL SEMIFINALIST:  Butler senior linebacker Jordan Ridley has been named as a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.  The award is selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, citizenship and outstanding football ability.  A total of 147 football players, representing every level of collegiate football, were chosen as semifinalists.  Finalists for the award will be announced on Oct. 25.

TURNOVER MARGIN:  Butler's opportunistic defensive unit came up with four turnovers and one blocked field goal attempt to help keep Dayton in check.  Sophomore Bryce Barry stopped the Flyers' first drive of the second half with his team-leading second pass interception of the season, and junior Kevin Cook closed out the win with his first theft on Dayton's final drive.  Cook also blocked a field goal attempt by the Flyers in the first half.  Sophomores Christian Eble and David Burke each came up with a fumble recovery in the victory.

LEAGUE LEADER:  Butler continues to lead the PFL in total offense (420.8 yards per game).  The Bulldogs also lead in rushing offense (171.4 ypg) and third-down conversions (44.6%).  Butler stands second in the circuit in rushing defense (161.0 ypg), scoring defense (19.2 ppg), turnover margin (0.40) and first downs (20.8), while ranking third in total defense (341.0 ypg).


•Junior Trae Heeter owns the top two rushing performances in the PFL this fall with 204 yards against Campbell and 159 against Dayton.  He also owns the the two longest rushing plays, 79 yards for a touchdown against Campbell and 78 yards for a touchdown against Dayton.

•Trae Heeter has taken over the lead in the PFL in all-purpose yards (132.4 ypg).

•Trae Heeter missed last year's game against Valparaiso with injury.  He scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 64-yard run against Valparaiso in 2010.

•Trae Heeter shares the PFL lead for most touchdowns (5) with teammate Matt Lancaster.  

•Quarterback Matt Lancaster ranks fourth in the PFL in pass efficiency (135.2) and in total offense (262.6).  He's seventh in the league in passing average (214.4 ypg).

•Matt Lancaster has thrown 143 consecutive passes without an interception.

•Senior Jordan Ridley currently stands sixth in tackles in the PFL (9.6).  Ridley has topped the PFL in tackles in each of the past two seasons.

•Junior Jeremy Stephens is tied for second in the PFL in quarterback sacks with four.

•Sophomore wide receiver Derek O'Connor had six catches for 70 yards against Dayton, his best Butler Bowl performance.

•Derek O'Connor ranks fourth in the PFL in receiving yards (63.8 ypg) and tenth in receptions (4.6).  Junior Brendan Shannon is seventh in the league in receiving yards (58.8 ypg), and he's tied for fifth in the circuitin receptions (5.0 pg).

•Defensive back Sean Grady had a school-record, 90-yard pass interception return for a touchdown in last year's game against Valparaiso.

•Sophomore Don Stewart, Jr., rushed for a career-high 64 yards on 13 carries against Valparaiso last year.

•The 28-yard touchdown catch by Brian Knight against Dayton was the first collegiate reception by the redshirt-freshman.

•Senior offensive lineman Matt Storey has started 27 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.