October 30, 2013

Bulldogs Prepare For First Place Showdown At Dayton

LEADER BOARD:  Butler will be in the Pioneer Football League spotlight for the second straight week when it visits Dayton on Saturday, Nov. 2.  The key league game at Welcome Stadium will kickoff at 1 p.m.  Butler and Dayton are part of a four-way tie for first place in the PFL, along with San Diego and Marist.  Mercer sits one-half game back in the league standings.  Only one other game matching the top five teams remains on the 2013 PFL slate - a Nov. 16 encounter between Mercer and Marist.  Butler fell from sole possession of first place in the league after a 42-14 setback at San Diego last weekend.  A week earlier, Dayton handed San Diego its first league loss, 45-38 in double-overtime.  The Flyers posted their fourth straight victory last weekend, taking a 42-14 decision at Morehead State.  Dayton, currently ranked fourth in the PFL in scoring, has posted 40 or more points in each of its last four outings.  Following the showdown in Ohio, Butler will return to Indianapolis  to host its final home game against Valparaiso on Saturday, Nov. 9.   The Bulldogs will close out the 2013 campaign at Morehead State on Nov. 16.                                                     

Butler has won its last two visits to Welcome Stadium.

PASSED OVER:  San Diego quarterback Mason Mills threw for 407 yards and five touchdowns to lead the host Toreros to a 28-point victory over Butler.  Mills engineered touchdown drives on the Toreros' first three possessions of the game, and he helped San Diego to a 35-0 lead, before Butler was able to reach the end zone.  Mills hit on 15 of 19 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns in the game's first 30 minutes.  The Bulldogs, behind quarterback Matt Lancaster, scored on successive possessions to end the first half and start the second half, but that was all the points Butler could muster.  It was Butler's sixth straight loss at Torero Stadium, and it snapped the Bulldogs' four-game PFL winning streak.  

RETURN PERFORMANCE:  Quarterback Matt Lancaster returned to Butler's lineup at San Diego, after missing the previous week's game against Drake because of injury.  He didn't show any lingering effects of the layoff, rolling up over 300 yards in total offense and having a hand in both Butler touchdowns against the Toreros.  Lancaster connected on 25 of 41 passes for 251 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.  The senior signal caller scored Butler's first touchdown on a three-yard run with 15 seconds remaining in the first half, and then he opened the third period with a nine-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brendan Shannon.  He's passed for 11 touchdowns and rushed for eight on the season.      

CENTURY CLUB:  Senior wide receiver Brendan Shannon recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving performance of the season with eight receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown at San Diego.  It was the seventh time he's had 100 or more receiving yards in his last 12 Butler games and the eighth 100-plus receiving performance of his career.  Shannon has moved into third place on Butler's all-time list for receptions with 143, and he sits in the No. 7 spot on the Bulldogs' all-time list for receiving yards with 1,823.  

Brendan Shannon leads the PFL in receptions (7.6).  

TURNOVER MARGIN:  Butler continues to rank at the top of the PFL in team turnover margin.  The Bulldogs are tied with Mercer with a margin of +7, just ahead of Dayton (+4).  Butler has a league-high 24 take-aways this season, including a league-best 12 pass interceptions.  Nine different players have contributed to the interception total, led by defensive backs David Burke, Sean Grady and Jimmy Schwabe with two pass thefts apiece.
 
HEET WAVE:  Running back Trae Heeter turned in one of his top career performances in Butler's game against Dayton last year.  The Butler tailback rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries to help Butler to a 21-11 victory.  He scored Butler's second touchdown on a 41-yard run in the third quarter and then topped that effort with a 78-yard touchdown run in the final period.  The 78-yard scamper was the second-longest of his career.  Heeter was named Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Flyers.   

Trae Heeter has rushed for 100 or more yards in 12 games during his Butler career.

LEAD ROLE:  Butler's Trae Heeter is the PFL's active career leader in rushing yards (2,895), all-purpose yards (4,485), scoring (156 points), touchdowns (26) and rushing touchdowns (23).  His 23 career rushing touchdowns are seven more than the total of teammate Matt Lancaster, who sits second on the PFL list of active career leaders.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler has gained exactly the same yardage that it has yielded this season.  The Bulldogs have 3,849 yards in total offense and have given up 3,849 yards on defense.

•Quarterback Matt Lancaster ranks in sixth place on Butler's all-time passing list with 4,492 career yards.  He trails Curt Roy (1979-83) in fifth place by 69 yards.

•Matt Lancaster ranks third in the PFL in total offense (274.8).  He's tied for third in the league in touchdowns (8).

•Running back Trae Heeter has taken over the No. 4 spot on Butler's all-time rushing list with 2,895 career rushing yards. Naim Sanders (1995-98) stands third on the all-time list with 3,666 career yards.

•Trae Heeter leads the PFL in rushing (104.0), and he ranks second in all-purpose yards (122.2).  Heeter led the PFL in rushing and ranked second in all-purpose yards last year.

•Trae Heeter needs 59 rushing yards to reach 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year.

•Wide receiver Brendan Shannon ranks fourth in the PFL in receiving yards (90.3).

•Brendan Shannon ranks second among active PFL players in career receptions (143), he's third in career receiving yards (1,823).

•Defensive end Jeremy Stephens had a team-high nine tackles, including two quarterback sacks against Dayton last year.  Stephens ranks sixth among active PFL players in career quarterback sacks with 13.  

•Defensive back David Burke and defensive end Christian Eble each recorded a fumble recovery in Butler's victory over Dayton last year.  Linebacker Bryce Barry had one of two Butler pass interceptions in the game.

•Placekicker Jon Treloar, who connected on both of his PAT kicks at San Diego, ranks second in the PFL in PAT kicking percentage (.972).  He's sixth in the league in kick scoring (5.6).  Treloar has connected on 21 consecutive PAT kick attempts.

•Offensive lineman Greg Ambrose will be in the starting lineup in his hometown when Butler visits Dayton.  Ambrose, who has started 20 consecutive games for the Bulldogs, attended Oakwood High School.