Oct. 2, 2004
Sophomore Matt McCanna opened the third quarter with a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown and that helped lead Butler to a 21-14 victory over visiting Austin Peay in a Pioneer Football League interdivisional game at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 2. The victory was Butler's first in five outings this season, while Austin Peay fell to 0-5.
McCanna electrified the Homecoming crowd of 5,200 with the game's biggest play early in the third period. He gathered a punt from Austin Peay's Bradley Wilson at the Butler 34-yard line, briefly fumbled the ball, and then broke loose up the middle. The second-year wide receiver ran to the far sideline and out-raced Austin Peay's defenders for a touchdown with 12:29 on the clock. It was his second career touchdown and gave the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead.
"Matt's return was a huge play," said Butler head coach Kit Cartwright. "It was a well-executed return. We were actually in a safe return, and he just took it right up the middle! That touchdown gave us a big lift."
"We made a lot of plays down the stretch. We played very well offensively in the first half, and very well defensively in the second half," continued the Butler coach.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 14-yard run by quarterback Ian Nelson, but the extra point kick attempt was blocked. Austin Peay answered later in the first quarter on a 66-yard pass from Jesse Kellogg to flanker Paul Derrick. The Governors were successful on their extra point kick attempt and climbed in front 7-6.
Butler recaptured the lead in the second quarter with a 47-yard scoring drive in five plays. Freshman Derek North started the drive with a 14-yard run, and then he capped the march with another 14-yard sprint to the end zone. It was his first collegiate touchdown. Nelson was successful on a tow-point conversion run to give Butler a 14-7 halftime lead.
Austin Peay's final score came with 6:27 left in the third quarter on a 12-yard run by tailback Chris Fletcher. The Governors, who had a 97-yard touchdown pass called back because of a penalty in the second quarter, did mount a drive late in the fourth period, but Kellogg's fourth down pass attempt was knocked down by Butler?s Andy Nelson to preserve the victory.
Ian Nelson led Butler's offensive attack with 69 yards rushing and 151 yards passing (11-19-1). North added 62 yards on the ground, while McCanna had two catches for 68 yards. Kellogg paced the Governors with 249 passing yards (16-34-1).
Linebackers Dave Inman and Parker Smith each had eight tackles to lead Butler's defensive effort. Sophomore Collin McGann came up with his second pass interception of the season and added a fumble recovery. Linebacker Charlie Forte topped Austin Peay with 12 tackles.
The Bulldogs will play a non-league game at St. Francis (Ind.) next Saturday, Oct. 9.