Big Plays Help Youngstown State Beat Bulldogs

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO -- Host Youngstown State used a rugged ground attack and several big plays to hand Butler a 31-7 setback in a non-league game at Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 11.  The loss snapped a three-game Butler winning streak, dating back to last season.

The Penguins (1-1) rolled up 286 yards on the ground and 377 total yards while winning their 15th consecutive home opener in front of 18,025 fans.  Seven different players contributed to the rushing total, with three different backs picking up at least 60 yards.  The host squad scored the first 14 points of the game, led 17-7 at halftime and added two more touchdowns in the final half.

Running back Jordan Thompson broke a scoreless deadlock late in the first quarter, scoring on an eight-yard run to cap a 58-yard drive.  Youngstown State’s Randy Louis intercepted a pass from Butler quarterback Andrew Huck and returned it to the YSU 42-yard line to start the drive.

Adaris Bellamy scored the first of his two rushing touchdown from five yards out to give the Penguins a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs answered with an eight-play, 81-yard scoring drive.  Huck found wide receiver Jeff Larsen in the end zone from three yards out to cut Youngstown State’s lead in half.

But the Penguins added a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Blose with 40 seconds left in the first half and then broke things open with an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dominique Barnes late in the third quarter.  Bellamy tallied his final touchdown from 25 yards out early in the final period to close the scoring.

Huck completed 20 of 32 passes for 148 yards in the game, and he added 23 rushing yards on eight attempts.  He also caught a 41-yard pass from quarterback Matt Kobli on Butler's scoring drive.  Kobli led the Bulldogs in rushing with 46 yards on eight carries, while Jordan Koopman and Zach Watkins each finished with five receptions.  Koopman gained 55 yards, while Watkins picked up 25.  Freshman Trae Heeter picked up 153 yards on six kickoff returns.

Sophomore Jordan Ridley led Butler’s defensive effort with a career-high 16 tackles, while junior Logan Sullivan added a career-best ten stops.

Butler (1-1) will play its first home game and unveil its new 5,647-seat stadium next week, when it hosts Taylor on Saturday, Sept. 18.  The home-opener is slated for 1 p.m. (ET).