OPENING DAY: Butler will kickoff the 2010
football season on the road when it visits Albion on Saturday,
Sept. 4. The non-league opener is slated for 1 p.m. (ET) at
Albion’s Sprankel-Sprandle Stadium. The Bulldogs will
be facing Albion in a season-opener for the seventh consecutive
year. Albion captured the first three games of that stretch,
dating back to 2004, but the Bulldogs have won the last three,
including a 42-3 decision last season at the Butler Bowl.
That victory helped ignite the Bulldogs, who went on to compile the
best football season in school history! Butler finished the
2009 campaign with an 11-1 record, a Pioneer Football League
co-championship and the first postseason football win in Butler
history. The Bulldogs set school records for most wins (11),
most PFL wins (7), and most home wins (7), while tying the school
mark for most consecutive wins (9). Butler has won three of
four season-openers since Jeff Voris took over as head coach in
Butler is 12-5 in September under head coach Jeff Voris.
ON THE AIR: For the sixth straight year, Butler football games will be broadcast on XL 950 (AM) in Indianapolis and streamed on the internet at BigPlayProductions.com. Play-by-play duties for the Bulldogs’ opener will be handled by Brian Scott, and he’ll be joined in the booth by former Butler football coach Ken LaRose. Scott is stepping in for Brian Giffin, who is on duty with the Atlanta Braves. This weekend’s game against Albion will be carried live, starting with a pre-game show at 12:40 p.m. (ET).
FAMILIAR FACES: Butler will open the 2010 season with 40 returning letterwinners, including 17 starters from last year’s championship squad. The Bulldogs have nine starters back on offense and eight back on defense. Twelve players who were in the starting lineup against Albion last year are slated to start in this season’s meeting.
CAPTAINS CHOICE: Seniors Donnie Gilmore and Tadd Dombart have been selected as captains for the 2010 Butler squad by a vote of their teammates. Gilmore, a first team All-PFL offensive lineman, has started 34 consecutive games for the Bulldogs, while Dombart has started at defensive back in 24 of Butler’s last 26 games. Dombart also has led the Bulldogs in punt returns in each of the past three seasons. Joining the two seniors as captains for Butler’s opener at Albion will be senior wide receiver Eddie McHale and junior linebacker.
STREAKING ‘DOGS: Butler has won five consecutive non-league games, and the Bulldogs have captured their last three season-openers. The Bulldogs won their final two games last season.
STRONG-ARMED: Butler head coach Jeff Voris is in the unique position of having two of the top three single season passers in Butler football history on the Bulldogs’ roster this fall. Junior Andrew Huck started all 12 games last season and passed for 2,454 yards, the third-highest single season total in Butler history! He also had the third-highest total for touchdown passes (21) in school history. Huck led the PFL in completions (233) and pass attempts (371), while finishing second in the league in passing yards. He’s joined this season by senior Matt Kobli, who sat out a university-imposed suspension last year. Kobli started all 11 Butler games in 2008 and set a Butler single season record with 23 touchdown passes. He compiled the second-highest single season passing total in school history with 2,518 yards. Kobli also rushed for 493 yards, the most by a Butler quarterback in half a century! Huck rushed for 467 yards last season. Both players led the PFL in total offense. Butler’s single season passing record of 3,182 yards was set by DeWayne Ewing in 10 games in 2000.
Matt Kobli passed for 230 yards and two TDs against Albion in 2008.
PRIZE CATCH: Junior Zach Watkins made his first collegiate start in Butler’s game against Albion last year, and he wound up leading the Bulldogs in the contest with seven receptions for 183 yards. He came up with his first career touchdown catch in the second quarter and then went on to grab two more scoring aerials. Watkins wound up leading the PFL in receptions with a school-record 78 catches in 2009.
Zach Watkins ranked second in the PFL in touchdown catches (10) last season.
EARLY HONORS: Butler juniors Grant Hunter and Zach Watkins each picked up preseason All-America recognition for 2010. Hunter was chosen as a third team defensive end on the College Sporting News FCS Preseason All-America squad, while Watkins was named a third team wide receiver on The Sports Network Preseason All-America team.
•Butler will be without a pair of starters for
Saturday’s opener at Albion. Tight end Carter Walley
and linebacker Andrew Cottrell are both sidelined with injuries and
will not make the trip. Junior Bill Bork will get the
starting nod at tight end, while sophomore William Lamar will step
in at linebacker.
•Sophomore punter Michael Wilson saw his first Butler action and junior David Lang made his debut as a placekicker in last year’s game with Albion. Wilson had six punts in the game for a 42.3 average, while Lang was successful on six PAT kicks.
•Junior Mark Giacomantonio came up with the first of his PFL-leading five pass interceptions last year in the Bulldogs’ win over Albion. It was his first game as a Butler starter.
•Quarterback Andrew Huck made his first collegiate start in last year’s game against Albion, and he wound up passing for a career-high 327 yards and rolling up a career-best 395 yards in total offense. He tied a Butler single record with five touchdown passes.
•Junior wide receiver Zach Watkins needs five receptions to take over tenth place on Butler’s all-time list for pass catches. Jon Hill (111, 1990-93) currently holds the No. 10 spot, while Adam Lafferty (112, 1999-2002) and Dave Swihart (112, 1972-75) share the No. 8 position.
•Zach Watkins is 319 yards shy of Tom Wallace (1,556, 1979-82) in the No. 10 spot on Butler’s all-time list for pass receiving yards.
•Defensive back Logan Sullivan recorded his first career blocked kick in last year’s game against Albion. Sullivan blocked a punt in the third quarter, setting up Butler’s final touchdown against the Britons.
•Quarterback Matt Kobli needs 12 passing yards to move into 10th place on Butler’s all-time passing list. The No. 10 spot is currently held by Eli Stoddard, who threw for 2,995 yards from 1994 to 1997.
•Tailback Scott Gray, who rushed for 34 yards on nine carries against Albion last year, needs 373 rushing yards to catch Kevin McDevitt (1,889, 1973-76) in the No. 10 position on Butler’s all-time rushing list. Gray is 23 points behind Tim Witmer (161, 1989-92) on Butler’s all-time scoring list.
•Butler is 11-4 in non-league games under head coach Jeff Voris.