Butler will have a winning season on the line when it close out the
2011 campaign at Morehead State on Saturday, Nov. 19. The
Pioneer Football League game at Morehead State’s Jayne
Stadium is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (ET) kickoff. Butler (5-5,
3-4 PFL) is looking for its third winning season in the past four
years. The Bulldogs had a chance to wrap up that winning
campaign a week ago, but fell in the fourth quarter to high-powered
Jacksonville, 34-24. Butler had a 24-17 lead in the final
period of that game. Morehead State (2-8, 1-6 PFL) also
suffered a fourth quarter defeat in its last outing. The
Eagles had a 24-21 lead in the final minute at Davidson, but the
host Wildcats scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 0:44
left. Morehead State’s Zach Lewis passed for 338 yards
in that game and became the first quarterback in the
program’s history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a
season. Butler has won six or more games just three times
since 1994. The Bulldogs had a school-record 11 victories in
2009 and won six games in both 1997 and 2008. Two of those
seasons have come under head coach Jeff
Butler has matched its third-highest win total in the past 14 years.
LATE SHOW: For the second straight year, Jacksonville used a late comeback to upend the Bulldogs. The host Dolphins, fighting for a share of the PFL title, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to overcome a 24-17 Butler lead and post a 10-point victory. Quarterback Josh McGregor tossed scoring aerials to Josh Philpart and Adrian Riley early in the final period to give Jacksonville its first lead of the game, and placekicker Bladen Gudz closed the scoring with a 27-yard field goal in the final minute of the contest. A year ago, Jacksonville scored two fourth quarter touchdowns at the Butler Bowl to post a 24-16 come-from-behind victory over the Bulldogs. Butler had led, 13-10, in the final quarter.
RECORD KICK: Senior David Lang kicked a 23-yard field goal with 8:20 left in the third quarter to give Butler a 24-17 lead at Jacksonville. It was his 13th field goal this season and the 34th of his Butler career, giving him a share of Butler’s all-time record for field goals. He tied the school mark first set by John Jenkins, 1985-88. The kick at Jacksonville also gave Lang sole possession of the No. 2 spot on the Pioneer Football League’s all-time field goal list. The PFL’s all-time record is 49 field goals by Drake’s Billy Cundiff (1998-2001). Lang currently leads the PFL in field goals (13), and he’s third in the league in field goal percentage (.867). The two players ahead of him have attempted fewer than seven field goals. Lang ranks second in the PFL in kick scoring (6.7 ppg) and fourth overall in scoring.
David Lang needs one field goal to tie his own Butler single season record (14), set last year.
PASSING GRADE: Sophomore Tom Judge was given his first collegiate start at quarterback at Jacksonville, and he responded a strong initial performance. Judge completed 17 of 25 passes for 163 yards in the game, and he led Butler to an early 14-0 lead with a pair of first quarter touchdown tosses. The second-year signal caller hit wide receiver Jordan Koopman with a five-yard scoring pass just over five minutes into the contest for the game’s first score, and then he found senior Jeff Larsen with a six-yard touchdown pass nine minutes later. Judge also contributed 60 rushing yards on seven carries, including a career-long, 27-yard run that helped set up Butler’s final touchdown.
QB HUNTER: Senior defensive end Grant Hunter has spent a considerable portion of his Butler career in the opposing team’s backfield, and he has a shot at becoming the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in quarterback sacks. He positioned himself for that shot by racking up three quarterback sacks in Butler’s game at Jacksonville. That total tied the second-highest single game performance of his career and gave him 35.5 sacks for his career. Hunter had four quarterback sacks against Dayton in 2008, and he recorded three quarterback sacks at Morehead State in 2009. Butler’s all-time record for quarterback sacks is 39, set by Tony Pence, 1978-81. Hunter finished with a team-high seven tackles at Jacksonville, including 3.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards).
Grant Hunter is the PFL’s all-time leader in quarterback sacks.
FINAL SHOT: Butler’s senior Zach Watkins (right), will close out his career as Butler’s all-time leading pass receiver. The wide receiver from Chicago, Ill., begins his final game with 240 career pass receptions, 2,814 career receiving yards and 20 career touchdown receptions. His career catches and career yards both are school records, while his 20 career touchdown catches are just two shy of the all-time school mark (22), set by former teammate Dan Bohrer (2006-09).
Zach Watkins owns three of Butler’s top five single season receptions totals.
•Butler rushed for a season-high
236 yards on 37 attempts at Jacksonville. Sophomore Trae
Heeter led the Bulldogs with 88 rushing yards on 17 carries, while
redshirt-freshman Brandon Grubbe added 79 yards on nine attempts.
•Linebacker Jordan Ridley continues to lead the PFL in tackles (12.5). He currently ranks sixth in the NCAA Division I FCS.
•Wide receiver Zach Watkins is ranked 11th in the NCAA Division I FCS in pass receptions per game (6.60), and he stands 19th in the nation in receiving yards per game (86.40). Watkins is second in the PFL in both receptions and receiving yards.
•Zach Watkins caught eight passes for a season-high 118 yards against Morehead State last year at the Butler Bowl.
•Running back Trae Heeter ranks third in the PFL in rushing (78.4). Heeter missed two games this season with injury.
•Trae Heeter is ranked third in the PFL in all-purpose yards (143.5).
•Senior Jordan Koopman, who led the Bulldogs with five receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville, stands fifth on Butler’s all-time list for pass receptions with 130. He needs seven receptions to catch Mike Chrobot (1975-78) in the No. 4 spot on Butler’s all-time list.
•David Lang is tied for 19th in the NCAA Division I FCS in field goals (1.30). Lang booted two field goals against Morehead State last year, including a career-long, 45-yard kick.
•Defensive back Sean Grady came up with his third pass interception of the season in Butler’s game at Jacksonville. He’s tied with five other players, including teammate Andy Dauch, for fifth place in the PFL in interceptions (0.30).
•Redshirt-freshman Brandon Grubbe scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 36-yard run at Jacksonville. His scoring run helped Butler to a 21-10 lead.
•Senior offensive lineman Pete Mattingly has started 38 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.
•Senior linebacker Nick Caldicott, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Marist, finished his career with 171 tackles.