Bulldogs Roll Past Valparaiso to Stay in PFL Title Contention

Bulldogs Roll Past Valparaiso to Stay in PFL Title Contention
Brendan Shannon

INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler football team finished off their home schedule with a 72-12 win over Valparaiso Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs set records for total yards on offense (717) and most points scored in the post-World War II era in the win. Butler's 19 seniors were also recognized prior to the game.

"We've been really good in spurts at different times of the year, and we've really been challenged to play 60 minutes," head coach Jeff Voris said. "I thought for the first time this year we really did that."

Senior quarterback Matt Lancaster completed 11 of 17 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns in just over a half of action. Senior backup Wade Markley entered and threw for 72 yards. Lancaster also added 30 yards on the ground.

"He's so well prepared, he's seen it so many times that he can just do it," Voris said of Lancaster. "His eyes are good, his reads are good, he distributes the ball to the right place and he knows when he's got to be the guy to tuck it and run it."

Senior receiver Brendan Shannon caught five balls for 142 yards and three touchdowns. His three scores were 35 yards, 57 yards and 51 yards long, respectively. All of those catches came in the first half; he saw little action in the second half.

Senior running back Trae Heeter led the Bulldogs on the ground with 115 yards on nine carries. He scored once on a 58 yard run and later caught an 84 yard pass from Lancaster for a touchdown. Sophomore Rico Watson was Butler's second leading rusher with 71 yards on eight carries. He hit pay dirt twice in the second half on runs of 21 yards and 28 yards. 

"I think the seniors have done a great job all year of leading during the week," Voris said. "We do have a lot of seniors that make a lot of plays for us on Saturday, so it was good to see them go out on a good note."

Sophomore kicker Jon Treloar broke the Butler record for most successful extra points kicked in one game. He knocked through nine, breaking the previous record of eight he shared with Bob Ligda and Tim Witmer. 

Defensively, sophomore cornerback Ryan Kelsey returned a second quarter Valpo interception for a 45 yard touchdown. Senior defensive back Sean Grady also had an interception. Senior defensive end Jeremy Stephens had one sack, bringing his total on the season to three.

"We really played well and we fed off each other," Voris said. "We answered their second score and we continued to make plays in the second half. I was proud of our effort and extremely happy for the seniors. It was just a good day for the Bulldogs."

Butler sits in a three-way tie for the top spot in the Pioneer League. The Bulldogs, San Diego and Marist all won on Saturday, maintaining the tie that was created by outcomes from the previous week.

Butler's record improves to 8-3 overall and 6-1 in Pioneer League play. The Bulldogs finish off their regular season and can clinch a second straight PFL championship next week at Morehead State. That game will kick off at 1 p.m. and live stats are available on ButlerSports.com.

Contact: Matt Rhinesmith (mrhinesm@butler.edu)