DAVIDSON, N.C. -- Junior Trae Heeter rushed for a career-high 231 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns to help lead visiting Butler to a 31-20 victory over Davidson at Richardson Stadium on Saturday (Oct. 27). The win lifted the Bulldogs to 6-0 in the Pioneer Football League, and gave Butler sole possession of first place in the league standings.
Heeter put the Bulldogs ahead for good, 10-7, with a four-yard touchdown run a minute-and-a-half into the second quarter. He then gave Butler its biggest lead of the game, 24-10, with a 78-yard scoring run just 1:17 before halftime.
The PFL rushing leader, who posted his second career 200-yard performance, had 27 carries in the game and averaged 8.6 yards per carry. His 231 yards were the most by a Butler player since 1996, when Naim Sanders rushed for 251 yards against Evansville.
The win gave Butler a one-half game lead over idle Drake (5-0) in the PFL standings.
The Bulldogs (7-2) grabbed a 3-0 lead on their first possesion of the game, driving 65 yards in nine plays before settling for Jon Treloar's 33-yard field goal. The host Wildcats answered with a 13-yard Jonathan Carkhuff to Danny Martinez touchdown pass to end the quarter.
That was the last lead Davidson would enjoy. Heeter capped a six-play, 75-yard drive to put the Bulldogs back on top, and Butler then made it 17-7 on a 32-yard Matt Lancaster to JT Mesch touchdown pass with 10:55 left in the second quarter. Heeter's second touchdown followed a 27-yard Davidson field goal by Robert Schick and made it 24-10 at halftime.
Davidson (1-7, 1-4 PFL) did cut the margin to four, 24-20, on a second Carkhuff to Martinez touchdown pass and a second Schick field goal with just under 12 minutes remaining. But the Bulldogs answered with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Lancaster's seven-yard scoring pass to freshman Marquese Martin-Hayes with 8:59 left.
Butler's defense held the Wildcats on their final possession and the Bulldogs ran out the clock for the 11-point win.
Lancaster finished with the second-highest single game passing total of his young Butler career. He completed 16 of 31 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. The Illinois State transfer threw for 359 yards in a come-from-behind victory over Morehead State one week earlier.
Mesch also turned in a career-performance with four catches for 121 yards, his second career 100-yard receiving performance. He matched his longest career reception with a 41-yard catch on Butler's final scoring drive.
Senior Jordan Ridley led Butler's defense, which limited Davidson to just 86 rushing yards, with 12 tackles, while junior Sean Grady added 10. Sophomore David Burke came up with his second career pass interception, which he returned 59 yards, and sophomore Christian Eble recorded a fumble recovery.
The Bulldogs will play their final home game of 2012 against Jacksonville on Saturday, Nov. 3, at noon. Butler will end its regular season at Drake on Nov. 10.