Diggins Has Career Day, but Bulldogs Fall in Season Finale

Nov. 12, 2005

Box Score

Junior Ryan Diggins threw for a career-high 306 yards and three touchdowns for Butler, but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs dropped a 45-28 decision to Missouri-Rolla on a beautiful day at the Butler Bowl in Indianapolis. The game served as the season finale for both squads. The Miners finish the 2005 campaign at 7-4, while Butler falls to 0-11.

Diggins wasn't the only quarterback who had a big day Saturday. Missouri-Rolla signal-caller Evan Gray threw for 432 yards and six touchdown passes. It was his third straight six-TD performance. Five Miners caught balls from Gray, headed by Ashton Gronewald's 10 receptions for 174 yards and three scores.

Gray led the Miners to two early touchdowns, finding Josh Morales from six yards out and Gronewald for a six-yard strike to stake UMR to a 14-0 advantage with 8:42 remaining in the first period.

Butler cracked the scoring column with four seconds remaining in the first period when Diggins found senior Nate Miller with a 10-yard touchdown pass. After the Miners answered with a score, Butler closed out the first-half scoring when junior Billy Nardini took a screen pass from Diggins and scampered 14 yards to the endzone. Nardini helped the Bulldogs control the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half by rushing for 115 yards on 17 attempts prior to halftime.

Nardini finished with 119 yards on the ground, adding a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He also caught three passes for 31 yards and a touchdown.

The Miners scored the first 10 points of the second half to take a 31-14 lead, but the Bulldogs would once again respond. Nardini's one-yard scoring run pulled Butler back within 10. After Gray's third touchdown throw to Gronewald, Diggins hooked up with Miller on another six-yard scoring pass. Miller had five receptions for 77 yards, including two scores.

Missouri-Rolla recovered the ensuing on-side attempt by Butler and added one final scoring drive for the 45-28 decision.

Linebacker Chris Haynes, one of 16 Butler seniors playing in their final game, had a team-high six solo stops for the Bulldogs. Freshman D'Andre Dowdy had an interception and two pass break-ups.

NOTES: Butler's 28 points and 446 total yards were both season-highs...Missouri-Rolla had 530 total yards of offense...the Miners intercepted Diggins twice and sacked him seven times...Keenan Miller had 91 rushing yards for Missouri-Rolla...Butler went three-of-four on fourth-down conversions...senior Phil Vorndran led Butler with 77 receiving yards.