Game: Butler (3-3 , 1-2 PFL)
vs. Dayton (5-1, 3-0 PFL)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 16
Site: Butler Bowl (5,647), Indianapolis, Ind.
Time: 1 p.m. EST
Radio: XL 950 (AM), BigPlayRadioSports.com
TOP TEST: Butler will be looking for a
second straight win on two fronts when it hosts Pioneer Football
League co-leader Dayton on Saturday, Oct. 16. The 1 p.m. (ET)
game at the newly-renovated Butler Bowl will match the PFL’s
2009 co-champs. Butler ended a two-game skid and picked up
its first PFL victory this season with a 24-8 win at Davidson last
weekend. The Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2 PFL) appeared headed for
their first shutout in more than a decade, but Davidson spoiled
that bid by scoring with less than a minute remaining in the
contest. It was Butler’s first win in four trips to
Davidson’s Richardson Stadium. Dayton improved to 3-0
in PFL action and 5-1 on the season with a 21-20 victory at San
Diego. Quarterback Steve Valentino, the 2009 PFL Offensive
Player of the Year, paced the Flyers with nine completions and 189
passing yards in the victory. Butler and Dayton shared the
PFL crown a year ago with 7-1 league records, but the Bulldogs won
the head-to-head meeting at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium,
31-28. It was Butler’s first win in the last three
meetings with Dayton and just the second over the Flyers since
Butler’s last back-to-back wins over Dayton came in 1987 and 1988.
CONTROL PANEL: Butler had nearly an 11-minute advantage in possession time in its victory at Davidson, and the Bulldogs out-gained their PFL foe, 205-40, on the ground. Backup quarterback Matt Kobli led the ground assault with 62 rushing yards on 10 carries, and he scored both of Butler’s rushing touchdowns. The senior signal caller gave the Bulldogs the lead with a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and he tallied Butler’s final touchdown on a 21-yard run with 1:46 remaining in the contest. The Bulldogs, playing without injured rushing leader Scott Gray, used four different running backs in the game and all four contributed to Butler’s final rushing total.
FIRST DEFENSE: One week after surrendering 270 rushing yards in a home loss to Campbell, Butler’s defensive unit responded with its best effort of the season at Davidson. The Bulldogs limited their North Carolina opponent to 185 total yards and narrowly missed recording their first shutout since 1998! Davidson crossed the 50-yard line just once in the first half and one more time in the second half, before mounting its final scoring drive. Seven of Davidson’s nine offensive possessions in the contest netted 34 yards or less, and three of the Wildcats’ drives resulted in negative yards. Butler’s defense held Davidson to just 113 total yards and 10 first downs in the first 58 minutes of the contest, before surrendering a five-play, 72-yard scoring drive in the game’s final 1:46.
Butler leads the PFL in team total defense (298.5).
DOUBLE THREAT: Butler quarterbacks Andrew Huck and Matt Kobli combined for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ win at Davidson. Huck connected on 14 of 20 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown and added 43 yards on eight rushing attempts in his starting role. He hit wide receiver Jordan Koopman with a four-yard scoring strike for Butler’s second touchdown in the game. Kobli completed four of six passes (with one interception) for 31 yards, and he led both teams in rushing with 62 yards and two touchdowns on 10 attempts. Both quarterbacks have thrown for more than 3,000 yards during their Butler careers, and both have a previous start against Dayton. Kobli passed for 297 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 overtime loss to the Flyers in 2008, while Huck threw for 146 yards and rushed for three touchdowns in Butler’s 31-28 victory at Dayton last year.
Matt Kobli stands second (2,518, 2008) and Andrew Huck third (2,454, 2009) on Butler’s single season passing list.
HIT PARADE: Sophomore Jordan Ridley recorded his fifth consecutive game of 10 or more tackles, while leading Butler’s strong defensive effort at Davidson. He finished with five solo tackles and five assists, including a quarterback sack, to pace the Bulldogs. The Butler linebacker is averaging 12.4 tackles over the Bulldogs’ last five outings, including a career-high 16 tackles at Youngstown State. He currently leads the PFL in total tackles (68), tackles per game (11.3) and in total assists (45). Ridley has the PFL’s second- (16) and fourth-highest (15) single game totals for tackles this season.
Jordan Ridley ranks 11th in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles.
TOP TARGETS: Junior wide receiver Jordan Koopman led the Bulldogs with seven catches for 82 yards at Davidson. That effort lifted him into second place in the PFL in receptions (32), two ahead of teammate Zach Watkins in third place. Watkins had four catches for 13 yards in Butler’s victory in North Carolina.
•Sophomore Michael Wilson averaged 44.7 yards on three
punts at Davidson. He ranks third in the PFL in punting
(41.4), and he’s tied for the league lead in punts dropped
inside the 20-yard line (9).
•Junior placekicker David Lang, who kicked a 28-yard field goal at Davidson, is tied for the PFL lead in field goals (5). Lang has connected on 11 of 12 PAT kicks, and he ranks sixth in the PFL in kick scoring (4.3).
•Junior Jack McKenna set the stage for Butler’s first touchdown at Davidson with his second pass interception of the season. He picked off a pass at the Butler 25-yard line and returned it to the Butler 36, leading to the Bulldogs’ initial scoring drive. McKenna also set up a Butler scoring drive with a pass interception at Dayton last year.
•Butler leads the PFL in team pass defense (133.0 ypg). The Bulldogs have held four of six opponents below 150 passing yards and have yet to yield 200 passing yards.
•The Bulldogs currently rank 17th in the NCAA Division I FCS in total defense.
•Wide receiver Zach Watkins is 70 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 1,496 yards in 26 career games.
•Zach Watkins stands fourth on Butler’s all-time list for receptions with 136 career catches. He trails Mike Chrobot (1975-78) in third place on the all-time chart by a single catch, and he’s six receptions behind Eric Voss (1990-93) in second place.
•Defensive end Grant Hunter didn’t play in last year’s Butler-Dayton game because of illness, but he had four quarterback sacks in his first meeting with the Flyers in 2008. Hunter is the PFL’s active leader in quarterback sacks with 25.5.
•Senior offensive tackle Mike Staniewicz has started 29 consecutive games and 39 of 40 games during his Butler career.
•Butler starting running back Scott Gray, starting safety Mark Giacomantonio and senior captain Donnie Gilmore all missed the Davidson game with injuries. Gilmore, who had started 37 consecutive games on the offensive line for Butler, was injured in the Taylor game.
•Butler is 9-1 in its last 10 games in October.