September 13, 2011

Bulldogs Visit Unbeaten Taylor

FIRST VISIT:  Butler will close out its pre-conference schedule when it makes a first-ever visit to Upland on Saturday, Sept. 17, to take on unbeaten Taylor.  The game at Taylor’s Jim Wheeler Memorial Stadium is slated for a 1 p.m. (ET) kickoff.  Butler and Taylor will be meeting for the second  consecutive year and for the third time overall.  Both previous meetings took place at Butler, including a 28-20 victory by the Bulldogs last year.  The Trojans defeated Anderson, 28-6, in their 2011 home-opener on Sept. 1, and then beat Iowa Wesleyan, 35-22, on the road last weekend.  Butler (1-1) is coming off a 48-34 setback at Indiana State.  That game was Butler’s lone scheduled contest against an NCAA Division I FCS scholarship program this season.  The Bulldogs will begin Pioneer Football League play at home on Sept. 24 against Drake.          

Butler and Taylor opened the newly-renovated Butler Bowl last year.

STARTING STRONG:  For the second consecutive week, Butler put on a strong first half performance, and for the second straight week, the Bulldogs were out-scored in the final 30 minutes.  Butler trailed Indiana State by just one point, 21-20, at halftime, but the Sycamores ran off 27 consecutive points in the second half to take control of the game.  A week earlier, Butler jumped to a 31-3 halftime lead against Albion, before being out-scored 14-0 in the second half.           

LEAGUE HONOR:  Senior placekicker David Lang was named Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Indiana State.  Lang was perfect on two field goal attempts and four PAT kick attempts against the Sycamores.  He kicked a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Butler a 10-7 lead and then added a second 30-yard field later in the period to cut Indiana State’s halftime margin to 21-20.  The Butler senior finished the game with 10 points, matching the third-highest total of his Butler career.       

David Lang is perfect on field goals (3-3) and PAT kicks (8-8) this season.

PRECISION PASSING:  Quarterback Andrew Huck, who set a school-record with 19 consecutive completions against Albion in Butler’s season-opener, continued to find his targets against Indiana State.  The Butler signal caller completed his first six passes against the Sycamores and finished the first half hitting 15 of 20 throws.  He then hit 15 of his next 20 attempts in the second half, before ending the game with his lone interception.  The 30 completions against Indiana State were the second-highest single game total of Huck’s career

Andrew Huck leads the PFL and ranks 9th in the NCAA Division I FCS in passing efficiency (166.89).   

HAND DELIVERED:  Andrew Huck posted the third-highest single game passing total of his successful Butler career with 289 yards at Indiana State.  It was his highest passing total in two years!  Huck had 327 passing yards against Albion in 2009 in his first collegiate start, and he then threw for 316 yards against Franklin a week later.  The senior signal caller has moved into third place on Butler’s all-time passing list with 4,843 career passing yards, and he needs just 157 yards to become just the third player in Butler football history to throw for 5,000 career yards.  

SENIOR MOMENTS:  Butler’s trio of senior wide receivers, Zach Watkins (right), Jordan Koopman and Jeff Larsen, combined for 23 catches, 249 yards and three touchdowns at Indiana State.  Watkins had nine receptions for 136 yards, while Koopman finished with four catches for 31 yards and two touchdowns.  The 136 yards were the second-highest total of Watkins’ career.  Larsen, getting his second career start, came up with a career-high 10 receptions for a career-best 82 yards and one touchdown.  

HIT MEN:  Junior linebacker Jordan Ridley and sophomore defensive back Sean Grady combined for 23 tackles against Indiana State.  Ridley, who led the PFL in tackles a year ago, finished with a team-high 12 tackles in the game, while Grady chipped in with a career-high 11 stops.  It was the tenth time in Ridley’s career that he’s had at least 10 tackles in a game.  Grady, making his second collegiate start, forced a fumble in the first quarter and Ridley recovered it, leading to Butler’s go-ahead field goal.  Butler also picked up a top performance from sophomore defensive back Jayme Szafranski, who posted a career-high eight tackles against the Sycamores.  

LEG WORK:  Junior Michael Wilson has emerged as one of Butler’s most effective, and least utilized, weapons in the first two weeks.  The Butler kicker, who’s punted just six times in two games, is leading the PFL in with a 43.8 punting average.  Five of his six kicks have sailed more than 40 yards, including a season-long kick of 49 yards at Indiana State.  A year ago, Wilson had a 71-yard punt against Campbell.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Wide receiver Zach Watkins needs just two catches to tie the Butler career record of 192 receptions, set by Dan Bohrer (2006-09).  Watkins stands third on Butler’s all-time list for receiving yards with 2,166, 10 yards shy of Eric Voss (1990-93) in the No. 2 spot and 75 yards away from Bohrer’s all-time record (2,241).

•Zach Watkins leads the PFL and is tied for 12th in the NCAA Division I FCS in receiving yards per game (108.0), and he’s tied for first in the league and eighth in Division I in receptions per game (8.0).

•Quarterback Andrew Huck completed a season-high 29 passes for a season-best 288 yards and two touchdowns against Taylor last year.  He also had 31 rushing yards in the Butler win.

•Jordan Koopman ran his career receiving totals to 96 catches and 978 yards with his effort at Indiana State.  He’s bidding to become the 13th Butler player to reach 100 career catches.

•Jordan Ridley has moved back on top in the PFL in tackles.  He’s tied for first in the league with a 9.5 average.  A year ago, Ridley led the league with an 11.8 average.

•Jordan Ridley led Butler’s defensive effort against Taylor last year with 11 tackles.

•Sophomore Trae Heeter led the Bulldogs in rushing at Indiana State with 74 yards on 16 carries, and he returned six kickoffs for 124 yards.  Heeter ranks second in the PFL and 15th in the NCAA Division I FCS in all-purpose yards (165.0).

•Redshirt-freshman Brandon Grubbe made the most of his first collegiate pass attempt.  The Butler tailback found teammate Jeff Larsen open and hit him with a 19-yard scoring strike for Butler’s first touchdown against Indiana State.

•Senior placekicker David Lang boosted his career total for field goals to 24 with his two kicks against Indiana State.  Lang has kicked at least one field goal in eight of Butler’s last nine games.  Butler’s career record for field goals is 34 (John Jenkins, 1985-88).   

•Senior offensive lineman Pete Mattingly has started 30 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.

•Butler is 14-6 in non-league games under head coach Jeff Voris.