Bulldogs Overpower Tiffin, 54-31, In Football Opener
Sept. 7, 2002
Tailback Dale Jennings rushed for nearly 200 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Butler to a 54-31 victory over visiting Tiffin in the season-opener for both teams at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 7. The victory gave a successful start to the tenure of new Butler head coach Kit Cartwright.
Jennings, who had not played football in the past two years, showed now signs of rust in Butler's opener. He scored on a nine-yard pass from quarterback Travis Delph early in the second quarter to give Butler a 7-3 lead and the Bulldogs never trailed after that. Jennings added two more touchdowns in the first half on a pair of 13-yard runs.
The 5-8 senior, who sat out the last two football seasons after transferring first from Butler to Western Kentucky and then back to Butler, finished the game with 194 rushing yards on 21 carries. It was the most rushing yards by a Butler player since 1997, when Naim Sanders rushed for 202 yards against St. Joseph's. Jennings, who was Butler's leading rusher in 1999, added 10 yards on two pass receptions.
The Bulldogs turned the game into a one-sided affair in the third quarter, after leading by just three, 20-17, at halftime. Delph opened things up with a 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Adam Lafferty with 12:50 left in the third period. Sophomore Justin Campbell then added the first of his two touchdowns in the contest on a 12-yard run at the 2:47 mark of the quarter.
Butler ran the score to 54-17 on a 51-yard touchdown run by Campbell, a 60-yard punt return by junior Brandon Martin and a 10-yard run by senior fullback Matt Collins in the fourth quarter. Tiffin, a NCAA Division II squad, scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes to close the margin.
Butler rushed for 342 yards on 43 carries and finished the game with 475 yards in total offense. Delph, getting his first collegiate start, completed 10 of 17 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Campbell added 103 rushing yards on 10 carries.
The Bulldogs gave up 474 yards in total offense, but also came up with six turnovers. Senior strong safety Joel Rush led the team with a career-high 12 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles, while senior Lou Capizzi and junior Parker Smith each added nine tackles. Senior Tim Lytle and junior Matt Van Deursen each had two fumble recoveries.
Butler will be on the road next to face Florida International, a new NCAA Division I-AA program. The game in Miami, Fla., will be played on Saturday, Sept. 14.