Oct. 21, 2006
Junior Nate Miller caught three touchdown passes and senior Brian Holthaus rushed for a career-high 100 yards to lead Butler to a 32-10 Homecoming victory over Valparaiso in a Pioneer Football League game played at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 21. The win, which lifted the Bulldogs to 3-5 on the season and 2-3 in league play, gave Butler possession of the initial "Hoosier Helmet" trophy commemorating the series rivalry between the two Indiana teams.
Miller gave Butler and early 14-0 lead in front of a Homecoming crowd of 4,048, with a pair of long touchdown catches. He opened the scoring with a 40-yard touchdown reception from quarterback T. J. Brown with 2:23 left in the first quarter. His second touchdown, on a halfback pass from running back Derek North, covered 76 yards just over two minutes into the second period.
Sophomore Jordan Quiroz kicked the first of three field goals from 39 yards with 9:03 left in the second quarter to give Butler a 17-0 advantage.
"The fast start was the key," said Butler coach Jeff Voris after the contest. "We got contributions from both sides of the ball to get us going."
The Bulldogs, who led 17-3 at halftime, stretched their advantage with 13 unanswered points in the third quarter. Miller, who finished the game with seven catches for a career-high 169 yards, scored his third touchdown of the game on a 15-yard pass from Brown, and Quiroz added field goals from 45 yards and 27 yards to increase Butler's lead to 30-3.
Valparaiso (2-6, 1-4) scored its lone touchdown of the game on a five-yard run by quarterback Warren Arnold in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs maintained control behind an improved ground attack. Butler's Jared Branyon sacked Arnold in the end zone with 4:53 remaining for the final points of the contest.
Holthaus picked up his career-high rushing total on 17 carries. He gained 51 yards in the first half and added 49 in the second half. His long gain was 19 yards. Butler finished with 110 rushing yards and 350 yards in total offense.
"We've gotten better at running the football," noted Voris. "Even in the losses to San Diego and Drake, we felt we did a better job (of running the ball). Our offensive line did a great job today, and Brian did a good job of setting up his blocks."
Brown finished the game with 11 completions in 25 attempts for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
Butler's defense limited Valparaiso to 221 yards in total offense, including just 26 rushing yards. Junior linebacker Mike Marzotto led the way with a game-high nine tackles, including two quarterback sacks, while linebacker Mike Bennett added seven tackles, a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery. The Bulldogs had a season-best seven quarterback sacks in the game!
"We're getting banged up on defense, but we have guys stepping up and getting the job done," said Voris. "Mike (Marzotto) played well, but he was one of many who stepped up. Our defense played with a lot of enthusiasm"
The game, between the only two Indiana teams in the Pioneer Football League, was designated as the inaugural "Hoosier Helmet" rivalry game. Butler was presented the trophy, a white helmet with a Valparaiso logo on one side and a Butler logo on the other, after the contest.
"I'm really proud of the effort our team gave, and I'm excited that they were able to win the first "Hoosier Helmet" in front of a great crowd," added Voris.
Butler will step out of league play next weekend when it travels to Rolla, Mo., to face the University of Missouri-Rolla. That game on Oct. 28 is slated for 1 p.m.