Oct. 18, 2003
Senior Jonathan Taylor rushed for a season-high 143 yards and Drake's defense came up with three key turnovers to help lead the host Bulldogs to a 24-7 victory over visiting Butler at Drake Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 18. The victory helped Drake climb to 1-1 in Pioneer Football League play and 4-4 overall, while Butler dropped to 0-7 on the year and 0-1 in league action.
Taylor compiled the 11th 100-yard rushing performance of his career to help spark Drake to 439 yards in total offense. He scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown on a 51-yard pass from quarterback Connor Jostes late in the first quarter. It was the second touchdown pass for Jostes on the afternoon.
Butler trailed just 14-7 at halftime, after sophomore quarterback Bob Farmer hooked up with freshman wide receiver Matt McCanna on a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter. But the visiting Bulldogs couldn't take advantage of three other drives inside the Drake 25-yard line.
Drake did take advantage of Butler's mistakes. Butler lost a fumble on its own 29-yard line its first possession of the game, and Drake responded by reaching the end zone in six plays. Jostes hit Tory Griener with a five-yard scoring pass to complete the drive.
The host Bulldogs scored their final touchdown in the third quarter when Jace Denison intercepted a Farmer pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. Tyler McGlade closed the scoring with a 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Butler threatened midway through the second quarter, but came up short on a fourth-down play at the Drake 25-yard line. The visiting Bulldogs also reached the Drake 15-yard line in the fourth quarter, following a 43-yard Farmer to Bob Leonard pass, but coughed up the fumble on the very next play.
Farmer, getting his first collegiate start, passed for a career-high 300 yards. It was Butler's first 300-yard passing performance since early last season, when Travis Delph threw for 419 yards against UW-Stevens Point. Freshman Brian Holthaus, getting his first collegiate start at running back, led Butler with seven receptions for 69 yards, and he added 32 rushing yards.
Senior safety Brandon Martin picked off his seventh pass of the season in the first half and returned it 32 yards. The theft gave him 16 for his collegiate career, setting a new all-time Butler record. Martin had shared the record with Tony Sales, 1980-83.