Bulldogs Face Defending PFL Co-Champ Dayton
LEAGUE CHALLENGE: Butler will face one of
the toughest challenges in the Pioneer Football League when it
visits Dayton on Saturday, Oct. 1. The game against the
defending PFL co-champion Flyers is slated for a 1 p.m. (ET) start
at Welcome Stadium. Dayton has been the most dominant team in
the PFL since the league’s inception in 1993. The
Flyers (3-1, 1-0 PFL) have compiled a 77-19 league record and
captured 11 PFL championships. And the Dayton has been
particularly tough on its opponents at home. Since 1974, the
Flyers have posted a 200-41-2 record in Welcome Stadium.
Dayton has won eight of its last nine PFL home games, with the lone
setback coming to Butler, 31-28, in 2009. That victory was
Butler’s first at Welcome Stadium since 1988. The
Bulldogs (2-2, 0-1 PFL) are coming off a 24-14 home loss to Drake
in the PFL opener for both teams. Butler’s game at
Dayton will be the first of consecutive PFL road contests for the
Bulldogs. Following the Dayton game, Butler will visit North
Carolina for a game with Campbell on Saturday, Oct.
Butler is 1-1 in Welcome Stadium under head coach Jeff Voris.
LEAGUE START: Visiting Drake used 18 unanswered points in the second and third quarters to hand Butler a 24-14 setback at home last weekend. Butler grabbed a 7-6 lead at the start of the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown pass from split end Jeff Larsen to wide receiver Zach Watkins. But the visitors responded with a three-yard Mike Piatkowski to Kevin Marshall touchdown throw, a 14-yard touchdown run by Patrick Cashmore and a 31-yard Billy Janssen field goal to take control. Butler rallied late in the contest and cut the margin to 10 points on quarterback Andrew Huck’s 28-yard strike to wide receiver Jordan Koopman, and the Bulldogs drove deep into Drake territory in the final minute. But the visitors sealed the victory with a pass interception at their own 10-yard line with just 0:31 remaining.
TOP DOG: Senior Zach Watkins (right) completed his climb to the top of Butler’s all-time receiving charts with a seven-catch, 91-yard performance against Drake. He became the first player in Butler football history to record 200 career receptions with his third catch in the game, and he surpassed Butler’s all-time record for receiving yards with his 24-yard touchdown grab. Watkins, a 6-2, 200-pound wide receiver from Chicago, Ill., boosted his career totals to 204 receptions and 2,308 yards. He passed former teammate Dan Bohrer (2,241 yards, 2006-09) on Butler’s all-time receiving yards list, one week after breaking Bohrer’s receptions’ record (192).
Zach Watkins ranks third in the PFL in both receptions (7.5) and receiving yards (89.05).
AIR DELIVERY: Senior Andrew Huck recorded the third-highest passing yardage total of his Butler career in the Bulldogs’ game against Drake. The Butler signal caller completed 27 of 51 passes (with two interceptions) for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the contest. It was his highest passing total since Sept. 12, 2009, when he threw for 316 yards in a non-league victory over Franklin. One week earlier, Huck made his first collegiate start and passed for a career-high 327 yards in a win over Albion. Huck’s effort against Drake boosted his career totals to 523 completions, 848 pass attempts, 5,384 passing yards and 41 passing touchdowns. He currently stands third on Butler’s all-time list for passing yards, 525 yards shy of Bill Lynch (1972-76) in second place on the all-time chart. Lynch, a former head coach and current Associate Athletic Director at Butler, is the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in touchdown passes with 60.
Andrew Huck set a Butler single game record with 51 pass attempts against Drake.
HIT PARADE: Junior Jordan Ridley led the Bulldogs in tackles for the third time in four games this season and for the 14th time in Butler’s last 15 games. Ridley finished with a game-high 13 tackles against Drake, including one quarterback sack. The 13 tackles were the sixth-highest single game total of his Butler career and his second-highest total this season. It was the 12th time in his Butler career that he’s had at least 10 tackles in a game. Ridley owns the top two single game totals for tackles (14 vs. Taylor, 13 vs. Drake) in the PFL this season.
Jordan Ridley leads the PFL and ranks 13th in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles per game (11.5).
QB HUNTER: Senior Grant Hunter recorded his first two quarterback sacks of the season in Butler’s game against Drake. Those two stops boosted his career total for sacks to 27.5, tops among all players in the NCAA Division I FCS. The 6-3, 245-pound defensive end also is the PFL’s active leader in tackles for loss (43.5).
•Running back Trae Heeter, who ran for 75 yards on 14
carries against Drake, ranks second in the PFL in rushing
•Trae Heeter, who had 175 all-purpose yards against Drake last week, ranks second in the PFL and sixth in the NCAA Division I FCS in all-purpose yards (184.2). Heeter had 123 all-purpose yards against Dayton last year.
•Quarterback Andrew Huck ranks third in the PFL in total offense (289.0). He stands second in the league and third in the NCAA Division I FCS on the list of active career leaders with 6,344 total offense yards.
•Andrew Huck ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more in his last visit to Welcome Stadium. Huck was responsible for all five Butler touchdowns in the win.
•Senior wide receiver Jordan Koopman posted career-highs of 11 receptions and 130 yards against Drake.
•Jordan Koopman ranks fourth in the PFL in receptions (7.2) and fifth in the league in receiving yards (80.5).
•Jordan Koopman stands seventh in the NCAA Division I FCS in punt return average (18.0). He’s the top PFL player on the NCAA rankings list.
•Wide receiver Jeff Larsen threw his first collegiate touchdown pass with a 24-yard strike to Zach Watkins on an end-around play in the first half of the Drake game. Larsen was a quarterback in high school.
•Linebacker Jordan Ridley had 10 tackles to lead the Bulldogs in last year’s game against Dayton.
•Sophomore Sean Grady recorded with his first career pass interception in Butler’s game against Drake. His theft in the fourth quarter led to Butler’s second touchdown.
•Senior placekicker David Lang connected on a pair of field goals in Butler’s game against Dayton last year. Lang shares the PFL’s active lead in career field goals (25).
•Senior offensive lineman Pete Mattingly has started 32 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.
•Butler and Dayton were separated by one yard in total offense in last year’s game at the Butler Bowl. The Flyers finished with 349 total yards, while Butler had 348.