Bulldogs Clinch PFL Championship

Bulldogs Clinch PFL Championship
Trae Heeter (Photo by Brent Smith)

MOREHEAD, KY. -- Senior Trae Heeter rolled up 319 yards in total offense and scored five touchdowns to help Butler clinch the Pioneer Football League championship with a 58-27 victory over Morehead State on Saturday (Nov. 16).  The win in the Bulldogs' last regular season game gave Butler a share of the league title for the second consecutive year.

Heeter put all of his ample talents on display at Morehead State's Jayne Stadium.  He carried the ball 32 times for 180 yards and four touchdowns, and he caught five passes for 139 yards and another TD.  The Butler tailback scored on runs of two, three, four and 21 yards, and he caught a 28-yard strike from quarterback Matt Lancaster.

"He made big plays," said Butler head coach Jeff Voris of his senior running back. "He had a PFL Player of the Week type of performance in a championship game.  He's had a lot of great games, but the great ones save their best for when it's needed most."

Lancaster also had another big day for the Bulldogs.  He completed 17 of 29 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns.  And he rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.  His touchdown runs covered five and 19 yards.

Senior wide receiver Brendan Shannon recorded his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving performance with 102 yards on six receptions.  It was his seventh 100-yard effort this season.

The Bulldogs (9-3, 7-1 PFL) wasted little time grabbing control in the contest.  Heeter scored two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game to give Butler a 14-0 lead, and the Bulldogs stretched that margin to 34-6 by halftime.

Morehead State (3-8, 3-5 PFL) answered with a pair of touchdowns to open the third period, cutting Butler's lead to 14 points, but the Bulldogs out-scored the host squad, 24-7 the rest of the way.  In addition to the touchdowns scored by Heeter and Lancaster, sophomore Marquese Martin-Hayes caught a 17-yard touchdown pass and placekicker Jon Treloar hit a 26-yard field goal, his ninth in nine attempts this season.

"We were emotionally and physically ready to go and we played well from the start, which was critical," noted Voris.

Butler rolled up 639 yards in total offense, including 333 on the ground.  In the past two games, the Bulldogs have compiled nearly 1,400 yards in total offense!

The Bulldogs' balanced defensive effort was led by linebacker Phillip Powell and defensive back Jimmy Schwabe with five tackles apiece.  Defensive tackle Glen Somers had a pair of quarterback sacks, while defensive end Jeremy Stephens added a third sack.

The 2013 Bulldogs became the seventh team in Butler football history to record nine wins in a season.  Butler shares the PFL title with San Diego and Marist, and the either the Bulldogs or Marist will earn the PFL's first automatic bid to the NCAA Division I FCS Championship.  The league tie-breaker will come down to the final rankings, which will be sorted out on Tuesday (Nov. 19).