October 6, 2010

Butler Seeks Turnaround At Davidson

EAST BOUND:  Butler, coming off back-to-back setbacks for the first time since 2008, will try to get back on the winning side of the ledger when it visits Davidson for a Pioneer Football League test on Saturday, Oct. 9.  The game at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C., is slated for a noon (ET) start.  Butler’s challenge is steep.  Injuries have taken a toll on the Bulldogs, who haven’t used the same starting lineup in two consecutive games this season, and Butler has never won in Davidson’s Richardson Stadium.  The Wildcats (1-3, 1-1 PFL), who were off last weekend, boast the PFL’s leading rusher in senior running back Kenny Mantuo.  In the past two meetings, Mantuo has rushed for 237 yards and scored three touchdowns against the Bulldogs.  He’s currently averaging a league-best 84.8 rushing yards through four outings.  Butler (2-3, 0-2 PFL) dropped its PFL home-opener with a 27-10 loss to Campbell last weekend.  It was the Bulldogs’ first loss in the Butler Bowl in the past nine outings, and it gave the defending champs back-to-back losses to start 2010 PFL play.  Butler’s trip to the east coast to face Davidson comes just two weeks after the Bulldogs visited the west coast to play at San Diego.                                         

Butler is playing on the road for the fourth time in six games this season.

RUN DOWN:  Campbell picked up its first victory over the Bulldogs in its first visit to the Butler Bowl.  The Camels rolled up 270 yards on the ground and scored three rushing touchdowns to hand Butler its first home setback since 2008.  The Bulldogs countered with 187 rushing yards, but found the end zone just once.  The visitors took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, held a 13-10 advantage at halftime and stretched the final margin with two second half touchdowns.  Campbell finished with a 336-247 advantage in total yards in the win.

The Bulldogs’ 187 rushing yards were the most against a Division I foe this year.    

POSSESSION GAME:  The Bulldogs, who led the PFL in turnover margin (+7) in their championship season a year ago, were minus 2 in turnovers in the loss to Campbell.  The Bulldogs gave up a pass interception that led to Campbell’s first touchdown and then dropped a punt that set up the Camels’ final TD. Butler currently ranks seventh in the PFL in turnover margin at minus 4 on the season.

AIR DEFENSE:  Butler leads the PFL in pass defense (130.6 ypg) and in pass defense efficiency (111.2).  The Bulldogs, who gave up just 66 passing yards in their loss to Campbell, have held three of five opponents below 150 passing yards this season and have yet to yield 200 passing yards.  Butler ranks third in the circuit in total defense with a yield of 321.2 yards per game.

LEADING HITTER:  Sophomore Jordan Ridley, who had a game-high 15 tackles against Campbell, has recorded 10 or more tackles in four consecutive games for the Bulldogs.  He had five solo tackles and a game-high 10 assists against the Camels.  The Butler linebacker is averaging 13.0 tackles over the Bulldogs’ last four outings, including a career-high 16 tackles at Youngstown State.  He currently leads the PFL in total tackles (58), tackles per game (11.6) and in total assists (40).  Ridley has the second-highest (16) and fourth-highest (15) single game totals for tackles in the PFL this season.

Jordan Ridley ranks 10th in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles.

RECEIVING END:  Junior wide receiver Zach Watkins led the Bulldogs with two receptions for 21 yards against Campbell.  He boosted his career total for receptions to 132, good for fourth place on the all-time Butler list.  Watkins trails Mike Chrobot (1975-78) in third place on the all-time chart by five receptions, and he’s 10 catches away from Eric Voss (1990-93) in second place.  Watkins had a team-high four catches for 33 yards against Davidson last year.

RUSH WEEK:  Butler quarterbacks Andrew Huck and Matt Kobli accounted for 90 of Butler’s 187 rushing yards against Campbell.  Huck led the Bulldogs in the game with 69 yards on 13 carries, while Kobli added 21 yards on two attempts.  Kobli scored Butler’s  lone touchdown on a 19-yard run.  

Andrew Huck rushed for a career-high 81 yards against Davidson last year.

KICKING HONOR:  Butler punter Michael Wilson earned honorable mention from College Football Performance Awards for NCAA Division I FCS Punter Performer of the Week, following his performance against Campbell.  Wilson averaged 48.2 yards on four punts in the game, including a career-long 71-yard kick.  His 71-yarder was one yard shy of the Butler record, set by Mike Morgan against Morehead State in 2007.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler’s loss to Campbell snapped a streak of eight consecutive October victories for the Bulldogs.  Butler’s last previous October setback came to Davidson in 2007.

•Butler’s last three games against Davidson have been decided by 12 points or less.

•The Bulldogs have gained exactly the same number of yards that they’ve given up this season.  Butler has 1,606 yards in total offense through five games, while allowing 1606 yards on defense.  Butler ranks fourth in the PFL in total offense and third in the circuit in total defense.

•Sophomore linebacker Artis Hailey had a career-high nine tackles against Campbell.  Hailey was a running back when the Bulldogs played Davidson last year.

•Sophomore Michael Wilson ranks third in the PFL in punting (41.0), and he leads the league in punts dropped inside the 20-yard line (8).

•Junior placekicker David Lang matched his season-long field goal with a 35-yard kick against Campbell.  He’s tied for first in the PFL with four field goals on the season, and he has 11 field goals for his career.

•Butler junior Zach Watkins ranks third in the PFL in pass receptions (26/5.2 pg), while teammate Jordan Koopman is tied for fourth in (25/5.0 pg).

•Jordan Koopman, who had just one catch for four yards against Campbell, has slipped to seventh in the PFL in receiving yards per game (54.4).  

•Zach Watkins is 83 yards shy of Tom Wallace (1,556, 1979-82) in the No. 10 spot on Butler’s all-time list for pass receiving yards.  Watkins has racked up 1,483 yards in 25 career games.

•Quarterback Andrew Huck passed for a career-low 56 yards (6-18-1) against Campbell.  It came one week after he had thrown for 74 yards at San Diego, his previous career-low.

•Butler starters Scott Gray and Mark Giacomantonio both left the Campbell game with injuries, and both will join senior captain Donnie Gilmore on the sidelines this week.  Gilmore, who had started 37 consecutive games on the offensive line for Butler, was injured in the Taylor game.