Bulldogs Roll Past Valparaiso

Bulldogs Roll Past Valparaiso
Quarterback Matt Lancaster

VALPARAISO, IND. -- Quarterback Matt Lancaster passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns and running back Trae Heeter added three rushing touchdowns to power visiting Butler past Valparaiso, 56-17, in a Pioneer Football League game at Brown Field on Saturday (Oct. 5).  The victory kept the Bulldogs perfect in three PFL outings this season.

Heeter scored three touchdowns in the first nine minutes of the game, and Butler never looked back.  The PFL rushing leader scored on a one-yard run just 51 seconds into the contest and then added a 35-yard scoring run less than two minutes later.  He had a three-yard scoring run to give Butler a 21-0 lead with six-and-a-half minutes left in the opening period.

The Bulldogs (4-2, 3-0 PFL) led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter and stretched that margin to 35-0 in the second quarter, before Valparaiso (0-5, 0-2 PFL) broke into the scoring column on a 41-yard field goal by Mike Pando.  Butler led 42-3 at halftime, and head coach Jeff Voris was able to clear the bench in the second half.

Lancaster, playing just one half of the game, completed 11 of 13 passes.  He found wide receiver Tom Judge with a 45-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter, and then he tossed a one-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Brendan Shannon early in the second period.  Lancaster finished his day with a 41-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver JT Mesch just before halftime.

Sophomore Wade Markley took over at quarterback in the second half, and he completed eight of 14 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.  He found freshman running back Rico Watson with a short pass in the fourth quarter, and Watson broke loose from 19 yards out for his first collegiate touchdown.

Senior David Thomas unleashed a 39-yard touchdown run in the final minute for his first collegiate score.

The Bulldogs, who lead the PFL in total offense, rolled up 598 yards in the win.  Butler's two quarterbacks combined for 336 passing yards, while six different players combined for 262 rushing yards.

Watson led the Bulldogs on the ground with 87 yards on 10 carries, while Heeter added 76 yards on 11 attempts.  Mesch led the Butler receiving corps with a career-high 119 yards on seven catches, while Judge added a career-best 114 yards on four receptions.

Butler's defensive unit, which limited Valparaiso to 263 total yards, was led by defensive back Sean Grady, who finished with nine total tackles, and linebacker Paul Yanow, who added eight stops.  The Bulldogs came up with three fumble recoveries in the game, including two on Valparaiso's first two possessions.  Defensive back Jay Brummel recovered a Valparaiso fumble at the home team's four-yard line on the first play of the game to set up Butler's first touchdown, and defensive tackle Glen Somers picked up a fumble at the Valparaiso 38-yard line two minutes later to set up the Bulldogs' second score.

Butler will try to keep its PFL record perfect when it visits Marist on Saturday, Oct. 13.  That game in New York will start at noon (ET).