Bulldogs Fall To Nationally-Ranked South Dakota State

Quarterback Matt Lancaster

BROOKINGS, S.D. -- Host South Dakota State jumped in front less than 40 seconds into the contest and the nationally-ranked Jackrabbits went on to post a 55-14 victory over Butler on Saturday (Aug. 31) night.  The non-conference game at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium was the season-opener for both teams.

The Jackrabbits, ranked sixth in the NCAA Division I FCS, rolled up 546 yards in total offense and scored at least 10 points in every period.  Quarterback Austin Sumner completed 22 of 32 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Zack Zenner added 117 rushing yards and a pair of TDs.   

South Dakota State needed just two plays to take the lead.  Zenner, who led the FCS in rushing a year ago, ran for 39 yards on the first play of the game, and then he followed that with a 36-yard touchdown run just 0:39 into the contest.

Butler did answer later in the first quarter with a well-executed 10-play, 85-yard drive, engineered by senior quarterback Matt Lancaster.  The Butler signal caller completed six passes for 75 yards on the drive and then finished the effort with a two-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:33 remaining in the opening period.

But the host squad ran off 24 consecutive points to take a 31-7 halftime lead, and then stretched the margin to 41-7, before Butler could strike again.  The Bulldogs' final score came on a two-yard run by tailback Trae Heeter with 2:05 left in the third quarter, capping a 10-play, 88-yard drive.  The final Butler scoring play was set up by a 44-yard run by Lancaster.

Lancaster completed 17 of 26 passes with one interception for 140 yards, and he added 63 yards on six rushing attempts.  Heeter caught four passes for 31 yards, while tight end Dylan Johnson had four receptions for 30 yards.  Defensive back David Burke topped Butler's defense with eight tackles.

The Bulldogs will return to Indianapolis for their 2013 home opener against Wittenberg on Saturday, Sept. 7.  That game at the Butler Bowl will kickoff at 6 p.m.