Bulldogs Rally To Win At Dayton

Bulldogs Rally To Win At Dayton
Matt Lancaster (Photo by Brent Smith)

DAYTON, OHIO -- Quarterback Matt Lancaster ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more and Butler overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat Dayton, 33-30, at Welcome Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 2).  The victory kept the Bulldogs in a tie with San Diego and Marist for first place in the Pioneer Football League.

Lancaster rallied Butler (7-3, 5-1 PFL) with a late first half touchdown and four second half scores.  He guided the Bulldogs on a 10-play, 49-yard drive to set up the game-winning 33-yard field goal by Jon Treloar with just 3:29 left in the game.  Butler's defense held Dayton on two ensuing drives, and the Bulldogs celebrated their biggest come-from-behind win of the season.

"Matt was Matt," said Butler head coach Jeff Voris.  "He does a great job of distributing the ball to the right guy and when things break down, he can make plays that very few people can make."

The Butler signal caller scored Butler's first touchdown on a 56-yard run late in the first quarter, and he notched the Bulldogs' final touchdown with a one-yard run in the fourth period.  In between, he had a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dylan Johnson and a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zack Wolfe.

Lancaster finished with 116 rushing yards on 20 carries, and he completed 18 of 27 passes for 232 yards.

Dayton (6-3, 4-2 PFL), battling to maintain a share of first place in the league standings, grabbed early control of the game with back-to-back first quarter touchdowns.  Quarterback Will Bardo hit Rob Washington with a 24-yard scoring pass just over six minutes into the game, and then he found Gary Hunter with an 86-yard touchdown pass for the second score of the contest.

The Flyers answered Lancaster's first scoring run with two more touchdowns, a six-yard run by Washington and an 18-yard run by Bardo, to make it 27-6 with 2:44 left in the first half.

Lancaster's touchdown pass to Johnson cut the margin to 27-13 at halftime.

"We settled in late in the first half and got a stop and a score to get it to a two possession game, and that seemed to get us going," noted Voris.

Defensive back Sean Grady came up with a pass interception and a 37-yard return on Dayton's first possession of the third quarter, setting Treloar's first field goal of the game.   The Bulldogs then stopped the Flyers on three plays, to set up a 15-play, 84-yard scoring drive that ended with Lancaster's second touchdown pass.

Lancaster opened the final period with his second touchdown run to give Butler its first lead in the game, 30-27.  Dayton did tie the game with a field goal, but the Bulldogs marched right back to set up Treloar's game-winner.  Butler's defense stopped Dayton's final two drives in the contest.   

"The defense was outstanding in the second half," stated Voris.  "(Dayton) had very few plays in the entire third quarter."  

Butler's defense limited Dayton to just 86 yards and three points in the second half.  Linebacker Paul Yanow, who had a key quarterback sack and forced fumble late in the game, led the Bulldogs with nine total tackles.

"We controlled the ball in the second half and finished with scores," noted the Butler coach.  "It was as good a 30 minutes as we've played all year, and we had to have it."

The Bulldogs rolled up 494 yards in total offense, including 242 yards on the ground.  Lancaster led the way on the ground, while running back Trae Heeter added 75 yards.

Wide receiver Brendan Shannon recorded his second consecutive 100-yard receiving performance with 102 yards on seven catches.  It was his fifth 100-yard effort of the season.

The victory was Butler's third straight at Welcome Stadium.

The Bulldogs will play their final home game of the season on Saturday (Nov. 9) against Valparaiso.  The 1 p.m. (ET) contest at the Butler Bowl will include a tribute to the seniors on this year's squad.