Butler Remains Unbeaten With Victory At Dayton

Sophomore quarterback Andrew Huck rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two more, but it took a stop at the one-yard line on the final play of the game to lift Butler past host Dayton, 31-28, in a key Pioneer Football League showdown at Welcome Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 7).  The victory, Butler’s first at Dayton in more than two decades, kept the Bulldogs unbeaten after nine games!

The back-and-forth game came down to one final heart-stopping play.  Dayton (7-2, 5-1 PFL) started its final drive at its own 16-yard line with 1:09 left, and quarterback Steve Valentino marched the Flyers to the Butler 41-yard line in seven plays.  With 0:06 left on the clock, Valentino heaved a final desperation pass that was caught by teammate JMichael Jonard near the Butler goal-line.  But Butler defensive backs Spencer Summerville, Mark Giacomantonio and Jack McKenna all converged on the Dayton wide receiver and stopped him just inside the one-yard line as time expired.

The victory ended Butler’s streak of nine consecutive losses at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.  It was the Butler’s first victory at Dayton since 1988, and it lifted the Bulldogs to 9-0 for the first time since 1961!  Butler shares first place in the PFL with Drake, both teams sporting 6-0 records.

The Flyers grabbed a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a four-yard touchdown run by Dan Jacob with just 0:33 left in the period.  But Huck rallied the Bulldogs with a pair of second quarter touchdowns, the first on a seven-yard run and the second on a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Dan Bohrer just before halftime.

Butler stretched its lead to 19-7 in the third quarter on another seven-yard scoring run by Huck, but Dayton answered with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Valentino to Justin Watkins.

Huck made it 25-14 with a 36-yard touchdown run, but Valentino answered with a four-yard scoring run to make it 25-20 with just under 11 minutes remaining.  Butler struck again with 3:27 left on a 16-yard Huck to Carter Walley touchdown pass to stretch the margin to 11 points, 31-20, but Valentino answered with an eight-yard strike to Nick Collins with 1:35 left.

The Flyers held Butler on three plays after an onsides kick to set up the final dramatic drive.

Dayton finished with 523 yards in total offense, including 413 passing yards from Valentino.  Huck threw for 146 yards on 12 completions and rushed for 54 on 12 carries for the Bulldogs, who compiled 381 yards in total offense.  Senior running back Scott Gray led the Bulldogs on the ground with 109 yards on 19 carries, while wide receiver Eddie McHale had three catches for 21 yards.

Linebacker Nick Caldicott led Butler with eight tackles, while Summerville had seven.  Giacomantonio added seven tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass interception.

The unbeaten Bulldogs will visit Jacksonville (5-4, 4-2 PFL) for another key PFL showdown on Saturday, Nov. 14.