Butler Upsets Previously Unbeaten Dayton, 23-20
Sept. 30, 2006
Junior T. J. Brown passed for a career-high 267 yards and three touchdowns and Butler's defense came up with several big plays down the stretch to lead the Bulldogs to a 23-20 upset of previously unbeaten Dayton in a Pioneer Football League game at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 30. The victory snapped Butler's 11-game losing streak to the Flyers and lifted the Bulldogs to 2-3 on the season and 1-1 in PFL action. Dayton fell to 3-1 on the year and 0-1 in league play.
Butler's defense held the Flyers to their lowest point total of the season, while the Bulldogs' offense scored more points than it had in the previous two games combined. The Bulldogs blocked a field goal attempt and an extra point attempt in the game, came up with a key fumble recovery right before halftime and ended the Flyers' last drive with a safety!
"This was a great team effort," said Butler head coach Jeff Voris after the contest. "Our guys committed to play and to prepare to play. Our theme this week was to be the best team for that 60 minutes."
Brown completed 22 of 36 passes in the win and accounted for all three of Butler's touchdowns. He hit wide receiver Dan Bohrer with touchdown passes of 80 and 11 yards and then provided the ultimate game-winner with a 13-yard toss to Nate Miller. The 22 completions matched Brown's previous career-high, set in the victory over Hanover earlier this year.
Brown had two interceptions in the first half, including one that was returned 12 yards by linebacker John Hoppe for the first touchdown of the game, but he bounced back to complete 10 of 15 passes in the second half!
"T.J. didn't get down after that first interception. He kept going and made big plays for us," noted Voris.
Butler immediately answered Hoppe's first quarter score. Facing a third down with 17 yards to go at the Butler 20-yard line, Brown found Bohrer open over the middle and hit the sophomore wide receiver in stride. Bohrer did the rest, out-running Dayton's defensive backs to the end zone.
The Flyers went back on top when quarterback Kevin Hoyng tossed a 54-yard strike to wide receiver Carlton McFadgen with just over four minutes remaining in the first period. Dayton could have made it 21-7 at halftime, but Butler defensive lineman Richard Alcala recovered a fumble by Dayton's Brandon Godsey in the end zone for a touchdback with 2:13 left in the second period.
Butler took the lead for good with two touchdowns in the third quarter. The first followed a 22-yard punt return by senior Collin McGann and a facemask penalty by Dayton that gave Butler a first down at the Dayton 13-yard line. On second down, Brown found Bohrer to tie the game. The second came with 0:13 left in the third period, following a six-play, 33-yard drive. Brown hooked up with Miller for the go-ahead score.
"The punt return turned out to be one of the biggest plays in a game that had a lot of big plays," said Voris. "That touchdown allowed us to relax. Everyone on our team was involved at that point."
Dayton had a chance to tie the game with 6:16 left in the final period when Hoyng tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Nick Ruhe. But Alcala blocked the extra point kick attempt by Josh Heyne. Dayton's final attempt in the game ended when junior Chris Marzotto sacked Hoyng in the end zone for a safety with 1:00 left in the game.
Bohrer finished the game with three catches for 101 yards and the two touchdowns, while Miller had nine receptions for 54 yards. Tailback Brian Holthaus added five catches for 81 yards and 21 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Junior Mike Marzotto topped Butler's defense with 13 tackles, including two quarterback sacks. Sophomore Chase Donner blocked a Dayton field goal attempt in the first half, and defensive end Dave McMahon forced the Dayton fumble right before halftime. Chris Marzotto finished with six tackles, including two quarterback sacks.
The Bulldogs would up with a split on their four-game homestand. Butler will travel to defending PFL champ San Diego on Saturday, Oct. 7, for their first league road test this season.