Butler Slips Past Drake, 48-44, On Late Touchdown
Oct. 26, 2002
Sophomore quarterback Ian Nelson scored on a one-yard run with 20 seconds left in the game to lead Butler to a come-from-behind 48-44 victory over visiting Drake in a Pioneer Football League game at the Butler Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 26. The win snapped Butler's four-game losing streak and lifted the home team to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in PFL North play, while Drake fell to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Nelson's touchdown capped a 77-yard drive in the final 1:34 and was the last of three scores in final two minutes! The Butler signal caller completed five of six passes on the final drive, with his final throw to senior Kelly Disser covering 18 yards to the Drake one-yard line. From there, Nelson carried for the final yard and the game-winning touchdown.
"There was a lot of offense out there," said an Butler head coach Kit Cartwright, after watching the two teams compile more than 1,000 yards in total offense. "The ball was really moving up and down the field. Ian did a nice job on the final drive. He took another step forward today."
Nelson finished the game with 19 completions in 29 attempts for 246 yards and one touchdown. He also picked up 95 yards rushing on 16 attempts and led the Bulldogs to 562 yards in total offense.
The final two minutes of the game kept the crowd of 4,533 on the edge of their seats. Butler, which trailed 31-20 heading into the final period, capped a comeback with Nelson's eight-yard touchdown pass to Scott Reddel to take a 41-37 lead with just 2:01 left on the clock. The touchdown drive covered 68 yards in seven plays and took 4:21 off the clock.
But Drake stormed right back. On the first play after Butler's kickoff, quarterback Ira Vandever hooked up with tailback Jonathan Taylor on a 75-yard touchdown pass. That quick strike gave the visiting team a 44-41 lead with 1:34 left and set the stage for Nelson's game-ending heroics.
Butler struck first in the high-scoring affair when senior tailback Dale Jennings broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown run on the second play of the contest. It was the first of four touchdowns on the afternoon for the Butler scoring leader.
"Dale was back to the Dale of old," noted Cartwright. "He broke some long runs and he found the end zone."
Jennings added a 63-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a pair of three-yard scoring runs in the fourth period. He finished the afternoon with 160 rushing yards on 18 carries. Butler's other points came on field goals of 32 and 30 yards by Matt Taber.
The Bulldogs needed every point they could muster, because Vandever was having a record afternoon. The Drake signal caller completed 21 of 37 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns. He tossed three scoring aerials to sophomore wide receiver Jason Jones, one to senior wide receiver Aaron Overton and the one to Taylor. He became Drake's all-time leading passer during the game with 7,148 career yards. He broke Drake's single season record with 24 TD passes and tied the school single game record with his five touchdown passes.
Senior Lou Capizzi led Butler's defenders with 16 tackles, while junior Parker Smith added 15. The game was the final home contest for Butler's 21 senior players. The Bulldogs will play their final two games on the road, beginning on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Valparaiso.