Nov. 2, 2002
Senior tailback Dale Jennings compiled over 200 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Butler to a 52-22 victory over host Valparaiso in a Pioneer Football League game at Brown Field on Saturday, Nov. 2. The win, Butler's second consecutive, lifted the Bulldogs to 4-5 on the season and 2-2 in PFL play, while Valparaiso fell to 0-9 overall and 0-4 in league action.
Jennings rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries and tallied a pair of touchdowns on the ground and added 111 yards and a third touchdown on five pass receptions. He scored on a 48-yard pass from quarterback Ian Nelson in the first quarter, on a 10-yard run in the second quarter and on a 25-yard run in the final period. He narrowly missed a fourth touchdown when he fumbled going into the end zone in the third quarter!
The Bulldogs, who trailed 3-0 early in the game, scored 24 unanswered points in the first half to take command of the contest. Sophomore Matt Taber started the run with a 30-yard field goal at 9:56 of the first quarter to tie the game at 3-3. The Bulldogs then took the lead for good with a 95-yard drive following a pass interception by junior Andy Nelson. Quarterback Ian Nelson capped the eight-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run at 2:45 of the first period.
The first Jennings' touchdown made it 17-3 at 0:53 of the first quarter, and the Bulldogs then stretched it to 24-3 on a 23-yard pass interception return by senior Craig Kerins. Butler answered a Valparaiso touchdown with a 60-yard drive in six plays, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Justin Campbell with 8:50 to go in the second quarter.
Jennings' second touchdown in the first half gave the Bulldogs a 38-10 lead, before Valparaiso narrowed the margin to 38-16 at halftime.
Butler added two more touchdowns in the final 30 minutes. The key play on the first second half score was a 34-yard pass from Ian Nelson that senior Kelly Disser took away from a Valparaiso defender at the Crusaders' one-yard line. On the very next play, Jennings fumbled as he crossed the goal line and tight end Scott Reddel fell on the ball for the touchdown.
Jennings ended Butler's scoring with 4:39 left in the game with his 25-yard run to finish off a 40-yard drive. It was his 18th touchdown of the season.
Nelson completed 13 of 24 passes for 227 yards in the contest. The Bulldogs rolled up 534 yards in total offense, including 307 yards on the ground. Nelson picked up 98 yards on 16 carries, while Campbell added 60 yards on nine carries. Campbell also had 121 yards on four kickoff returns.
Safety Russ Mann and linebacker Parker Smith led Butler's defensive unit with nine tackles apiece. Cornerbacks Matt Van Deursen, coming back from an ankle injury, and Brandon Martin each recorded his first pass interception of the season. Butler's defense yielded its fewest points of the 2002 campaign.