Butler Hosts Ivy League Opponent

Defensive end Jeremy Stephens (Photo by Brent Smith)

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FIRST LOOK:  Butler football fans will get their first up-close look at an Ivy League team when the Bulldogs host Dartmouth on Saturday, Sept. 21.  The non-conference game in the Butler Bowl is slated to kickoff at 6 p.m. (ET).  Dartmouth, playing its 2013 season-opener, is the first Ivy League team to visit Butler for a football game.  The two teams met for the initial time as football opponents last year in Hanover, N.H., and the Big Green captured a 35-7 decision.  Dartmouth returns 17 starters from that squad, including running back Dominick Pierre and quarterback Alex Park.  A second team All-Ivy performer, Pierre rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs last year, while Park completed 15-20 passes for 184 yards and another TD.  The Big Green also boast the leading tackler in the Ivy League, senior linebacker Michael Runger.  Butler is coming off back-to-back wins over teams ranked in the "Top 25" of the NCAA Division III.  The Bulldogs defeated No. 10 Wittenberg, 49-24, in the Butler Bowl two weeks ago and then picked up a victory at No. 13 Franklin, 31-28, last weekend.  The game against Dartmouth will be Butler's final non-conference test, before the Bulldogs start of Pioneer Football League play at Jacksonville on Sept. 28.                       

Butler has won seven consecutive home games.

REVERSE ORDER:  One week after building an early 42-3 lead over Wittenberg on the way to a 49-24 victory, Butler found itself in a come-from-behind situation at Franklin.  The host Grizzlies, ranked No. 13 in the NCAA Division III, jumped to a 14-0 advantage and led 14-7 at halftime in their first-ever home night game.  Butler broke through with its first score, a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt Lancaster, with 41 seconds remaining in the opening half and then tied the game on a six-yard touchdown run by Trae Heeter, just under four minutes into the second half.  The Bulldogs never trailed after that, though the game was tied at 21-21 early in the fourth quarter.  Lancaster scored the go-ahead touchdown on another one-yard run with 2:39 remaining, and placekicker Jon Treloar gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the game at 31-21 with a 33-yard field goal in the final minute.    

STRONG ARMED:  Quarterback Matt Lancaster connected on 24 off 33 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown at Franklin.  His effort boosted his career passing total to 3,274 yards and moved him into tenth place on Butler's all-time passing list.  Lancaster, in just his second season with the Bulldogs, trails Mike Lee (1982-86) in the No. 9 spot on Butler's all-time list by 253 yards.  

Matt Lancaster has thrown 26 touchdown passes in 14 career Butler games.

RUSH JOB:  Senior Trae Heeter, who led the PFL in rushing a year ago, turned in his first 100-yard rushing performance of the 2013 campaign with a game-high 129 yards on 27 carries.  He scored his 17th career rushing touchdown on a six-yard run early in the second half to tie the game at 14-14.  Heeter's effort boosted his Butler career rushing total to 2,169 yards, which ranks eighth on the Bulldogs' all-time rushing list.  He trails Harry Muta (1972-75) in seventh place on the all-time list by 276 yards.  

Trae Heeter has eight 100-yard rushing performance during his Butler career.    

NO RUNNING:  Butler's defensive unit limited Franklin to just 29 rushing yards on 22 attempts (1.3 yards per carry) in last week's victory.  The Bulldogs did not allow a run of more than nine yards and finished the game with nine tackles for loss.  In the past two games, the Bulldogs have allowed just 138 rushing yards.

Butler leads the Pioneer Football League in rushing defense (107.0 ypg).
 
CATCHING UP:  After missing Butler's win over Wittenberg with an injury, wide receiver Brendan Shannon returned to his familiar role as a favorite target for quarterback Matt Lancaster.  Shannon led the Bulldogs with 11 receptions for 119 yards in the victory at Franklin.  The 11 catches were the second-highest single game total of his Butler career and the 119 yards marked his fifth career 100-yard receiving performance.  Shannon  went over 100 career catches and topped the 1,000-yard mark in career receiving during the Franklin game.  He enters this week's action with 104 career receptions for 1,113 career receiving yards and 12 career touchdown receptions.

FOR KICKS:  Sophomore Jon Treloar was successful on four PAT kick attempts and one field goal attempt at Franklin.  That effort kept him perfect on 14 kick attempts this season (13-13 PAT, 1-1 FG).  Treloar is the lone placekicker in the Pioneer Football League who's still perfect on the season.

Jon Treloar has connected on 15 straight PAT kicks dating back to last season.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler out-gained Dartmouth, 416-358, in total offense last year.

•Quarterback Matt Lancaster completed 25 of 35 passes for 267 yards and one touchdown in last year's game at Dartmouth.

•Matt Lancaster ranks third in the PFL in passing efficiency (152.7).

•Matt Lancaster stands sixth in the PFL in total offense (234.3 ypg).  Lancaster finished second in the PFL in total offense a year ago.

•Matt Lancaster started his 14th consecutive game for the Bulldogs in the win at Franklin.  Butler is 10-4 with Lancaster as a starter.

•Running back Trae Heeter led the Bulldogs with 61 rushing yards at Dartmouth last year.  It was his second-lowest rushing total of the season.

•Trae Heeter is tied for third in the PFL in rushing after three games (71.7 ypg).  

•Wide receiver JT Mesch had a career-high eight receptions for 67 yards against Dartmouth last year.

•Senior Sean Grady led Butler's defense with nine tackles and three pass breakups at Franklin.  Grady, who finished second in tackles for the Bulldogs last season, had six tackles at Dartmouth a year ago.

•Sean Grady is tied for sixth in the PFL in passes defended (1.33).

•Butler defensive players Jeremy Stephens, Phillip Powell and Ian Luscombe each recorded a quarterback sack at Dartmouth last year.  Stephens wound up leading the Bulldogs on the season with 8.5 quarterback sacks.

•Jeremy Stephens shared the team lead in tackles with eight at Dartmouth last year.

•Redshirt-freshman wide receiver Brandon Collins scored his first collegiate touchdown on a two-yard pass from Matt Lancaster at Franklin.  Collins had two catches for 10 yards in the win.

•Punter Brian Akialis returned to action at Franklin, after missing Butler's first two games with injury.  He averaged 39.3 yards on three punts.  

•Butler is 18-9 in non-league games under head coach Jeff Voris.