October 2, 2013

Bulldogs Host New PFL Member Stetson

HOME RUN:  Butler begins a stretch of three consecutive home games when Stetson visits Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 5.   The Pioneer Football League game at the Butler Bowl will start at 1 p.m.  Stetson is in its first year in the PFL, after restarting its football program which had been dormant since 1956.  The Hatters won their non-conference opener this season, but have dropped three games since.  Last weekend, Stetson fell to San Diego, 59-0, in the PFL opener for  both squads.  Butler (3-2, 1-0 PFL) is coming off one of its biggest wins under head coach Jeff Voris, a 45-27 triumph at Jacksonville.  It was Butler's first victory in five trips to Jacksonville, and the Bulldogs' first win in six visits to the state of Florida.  Butler overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit by out-scoring the potent Dolphins, 38-14, in the final two quarters.  Jacksonville had posted 69 points in back-to-back games prior to last weekend's meeting with Butler.  Following the game with Stetson, the Bulldogs will host Campbell on Oct. 12 in Butler's annual Homecoming game, before closing the homestand against Drake on Oct. 19.                                       

The Bulldogs have won five straight PFL games in the Butler Bowl.

COMEBACK TRAIL:  The Bulldogs did something no other Butler team has done - posted a victory on Jacksonville's D. B. Milne Field.  And they did it with a strong second half performance.  Jacksonville, boasting a 4-0 record against the Bulldogs at Milne Field, grabbed a 13-7 lead at halftime and stretched that margin to 27-14 in the third quarter.  But the Bulldogs, behind a punishing ground attack, stormed back with 31 points in the final 19 minutes to claim the PFL win.  Quarterback Matt Lancaster started the comeback with a 25-yard touchdown run with just under four minutes remaining in the third period, and running back Rico Watson followed with a one-yard touchdown run two minutes later to give the Bulldogs the lead for good, 28-27.  Butler added 17 unanswered points in the final quarter.     

PFL HONOR:  Senior Trae Heeter put on one of the top rushing performances in the NCAA Division I FCS this year in Butler's win at Jacksonville, and his effort earned him Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week recognition.  Heeter, who led the PFL in rushing a year ago, ran for 222 yards and two touchdowns to help power the Bulldogs past Jacksonville.  It was the tenth-best single game rushing performance in the FCS this year and the best in the PFL.  The Butler back finished just eight yards shy of his own personal-best rushing effort, set against Davidson last season.  Heeter gained 138 yards and scored on runs of 11 yards and two yards in the fourth quarter at Jacksonville.

Trae Heeter has three career 200-yard rushing performances.  
 
GROUNDED EFFORT:  One week after passing for 395 yards against Dartmouth, Butler unleashed its ground force and piled up 402 rushing yards at Jacksonville.  Five different Butler players gained positive rushing yards in the win, led by seniors Trae Heeter with 222 yards on 34 carries and Matt Lancaster with 95 yards on 18 attempts.  The 402 total rushing yards were the most by a Butler team since Oct. 15, 1988, when the Bulldogs rushed for a school-record 406 yards against Valparaiso.  Butler gained 280 yards on the ground in the second half at Jacksonville.  

FIELD FLIP:  Butler withstood a 500-yard passing performance by Jacksonville quarterback Steven Hughes thanks in large part to a defensive unit that forced six turnovers.  Five of those take-aways came in the second half, including three pass interceptions that led to Butler touchdowns.  Senior Jimmy Schwabe had a pair of pass interceptions, including one that led to the third quarter touchdown which put the Bulldogs in front for good, 28-27.  Linebackers Zack Sedivy and Jordan Massey and defensive back David Burke each came up with a fumble recovery, while defensive back Sean Grady set up Butler's final touchdown with a fourth quarter pass theft.  Butler ranks fourth in the PFL in turnover margin (+3).

TOTAL PACKAGE:  Quarterback Matt Lancaster rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns at Jacksonville, and he passed for 208 yards and a third TD.  His 303 total yards marked the second consecutive game that he topped 300 yards in total offense.  Lancaster currently ranks second in the PFL in total offense (281.4 ypg).    

Matt Lancaster ranks seventh in all-time passing yards (3,877) at Butler.

ON TARGET:  Placekicker Jon Treloar was perfect on six PAT kick attempts and one field goal attempt at Jacksonville, giving him a career-best nine points.  The left-footed kicker has hit 21 of 22 PAT kicks on the season and ranks second in the PFL in PAT  kicking percentage (95.5%).  He's perfect on three field goal attempts this season. 

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler ran a school-record 98 offensive plays at Jacksonville.  The Bulldogs had 62 rushing attempts and 36 pass attempts to erase the previous school mark of 94 total plays, set against Franklin in 1985.

•The Bulldogs rolled up 610 yards in total offense against Jacksonville.  It was Butler's first 600-yard game since Nov. 4, 1989, when the Bulldogs compiled a school-record 673 yards in a win over St. Ambrose.

•Butler's defense limited Jacksonville to just 59 rushing yards.  The Bulldogs rank second in the PFL in team rushing defense (123.6).

•Quarterback Matt Lancaster stands fifth in the PFL in passing average (233.8).  He's fourth in the league in TD's (6) and sixth in scoring (7.2).

•Matt Lancaster's 42 pass completions against Dartmouth on Sept. 21 are the most in the PFL this season and the second-most in the NCAA Division I FCS.

•Matt Lancaster started his 16th consecutive game for the Bulldogs last weekend at Jacksonville.  Butler is 11-5 with Lancaster as a starter.

•Running back Trae Heeter has moved into seventh place on Butler's all-time rushing list with 2,465 career yards.

•Trae Heeter ranks second in the PFL in rushing (102.2 ypg) and third in the league in all-purpose yards (119.4 ypg).  

•Wide receiver Brendan Shannon had a team-high six receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown, before leaving the game at Jacksonville with an injury.  Shannon, who leads the PFL in pass receptions (7.0), is doubtful for this week's action.

•Defensive back Kevin Cook, who missed Butler's home game against Dartmouth because of injury, returned to the lineup at Jacksonville and wound up leading the Bulldogs with six tackles.

•Butler defensive end Jeremy Stephens recorded his first 2013 quarterback sack at Jacksonville.  Stephens led the Bulldogs and tied for third in the PFL with 8.5 quarterback sacks last year.

•Butler leads the PFL in third down conversions (45.8%) and in first downs (24.8).  The Bulldogs are first in the league in "Red Zone" offense and second in the conference in "Red Zone" defense.