Butler Upsets League Champ Valparaiso, 25-21
Nov. 8, 2003
Junior Justin Campbell rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown and sophomore quarterback Bob Farmer passed for 225 yards and a second score to lead Butler to a 25-21 upset of Valparaiso at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 8. The win was Butler's first of the season and lifted the Bulldogs to 1-9 overall and 1-3 in Pioneer Football League play. Valparaiso, having already clinched a share of the PFL North Division title, fell to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in league play.
The Bulldogs scored 18 points in the second half to claim the come-from-behind win. Butler trailed 19-7 at halftime, but held the visiting Crusaders scoreless in the final 30 minutes until giving up a safety on the final play of the game.
Campbell, who compiled his career-high rushing total on 28 carries, scored Butler's first second half touchdown on a two-yard run with 10:17 left in the third period. That cut Valparaiso's lead to 19-14.
The Bulldogs then took their first lead of the contest on a three-yard touchdown run by freshman Billy Nardini with 5:19 left in the game. Farmer hit tight end Scott Reddel with a two-point conversion pass to give Butler a 22-19 advantage.
Butler then came up with its biggest defensive play of the game, when freshman Collin McGann picked off a pass from Valparaiso quarterback David Macchi at the Crusaders' 42-yard line and returned it to the Valparaiso nine-yard line. Butler wound up losing 14 yards on three plays, but sophomore Eric Neumeier gave the Bulldogs a six-point cushion with a 41-yard field goal. It was Butler's first field goal this season!
The Bulldogs stopped Valparaiso one last time and then ran out the clock, taking a safety on the final play of the game.
Valparaiso jumped to a 13-0 lead in the game on a 10-yard Macchi to Jeffrey Vlk touchdown pass and a field goals of 31 and 28 yards by Andrew McCawley. Butler broke into the scoring column with a 16-yard Farmer to Kelly Disser touchdown pass in the second quarter, before McCawley added two more field goals from 20 and 52 yards.
Farmer hit 19 of 36 passes in the game, but he was intercepted three times. All three interceptions came inside the Valparaiso 40-yard line. Disser led Butler's receivers with five catches for 61 yards.
The Bulldogs turned in their best defensive performance of the season in the second half, holding the high-scoring Valparaiso offense scoreless. Senior Joe Haley led Butler with nine total tackles, while senior Jim Hart and sophomore David McMahon each added six.
Butler will close out the regular season at home on Saturday, Nov. 15, against non-league foe St. Joseph's. That game at the Butler Bowl will start at 1 p.m.