October 9, 2008

Bulldogs Visit Campbell For Initial Meeting

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ROAD WORK: Butler will make the first of consecutive road trips when it visits Buies Creek, N.C., on Saturday, Oct. 11, to face first-time foe Campbell. The Pioneer Football League game will be played at Barker-Lane Stadium, beginning at 12 p.m. (ET). Butler (3-1, 1-0 PFL) is coming off a 21-15 home field victory over Drake in last weekend's PFL opener. The victory snapped a nine-game league losing streak and a three-game home field skid for the Bulldogs and gave Butler its first 1-0 start in the PFL since 2001. The Bulldogs are looking for their first 2-0 PFL start since 1993. Campbell (1-5, 0-3 PFL), playing intercollegiate football for the first time in more than half a century, dropped a 42-0 decision at Dayton in its last outing. The Bulldogs, who play at Valparaiso on Oct. 18, are looking for their first PFL road win since 2002.

Butler is 2-0 on the road in 2008.

TOP DOGS: Butler used several key defensive stops and two long scoring drives to beat Drake for the first time since 2002. The Indiana Bulldogs jumped in front in the first quarter on a six-yard Matt Kobli to Dan Bohrer touchdown pass, following an eight-play, 91-yard drive, and held the lead for the rest of the game. Butler's final touchdown followed a 12-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdown run by tailback Ryan Hitchcock late in the third quarter. Drake drove inside the Butler 20-yard line on five occasions in the game, but nicked Butler's defense for just a single touchdown and three field goals.

PFL HONOR: Sophomore defensive back Rob Blevins earned Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Week recognition for his effort in Butler's victory Drake. The Butler safety turned in perhaps the biggest defensive play of the game late in the second quarter when he intercepted a Drake pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 14-6. It was the first Butler pass interception returned for a touchdown since Oct. 27, 2007, when Jacob Fritz had a 35-yard touchdown return against Davidson. Blevins finished the game with seven total tackles, including four solo stops.

Rob Blevins is the third Butler player to earn PFL Player of the Week recognition, joining Dan Bohrer and Matt Kobli.

STRETCH DRIVE: Quarterback Matt Kobli engineered Butler's second and third longest drives of the season to key the Bulldogs' victory over Drake. He completed six of six passes for 72 yards on Butler's 91-yard first quarter drive that wound up giving the Bulldogs the lead for good. He then threw for 27 yards and rushed for 18 more on Butler's 80-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. Kobli completed 12 of 22 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown in the game, and he added a team-high 50 rushing yards on 11 carries. Butler's longest drive of the season came at Missouri S&T, when the Bulldogs marched 99 yards for a touchdown.

SPECIAL GROUP: In a win that featured big offensive and defensive plays, Butler head coach Jeff Voris was quick to praise the Bulldogs' special teams' effort against Drake. "We really had terrific play on special teams and that played a big role in the win," noted Voris after the game. "Our kick and punt coverage was very good, and our kicking game was consistent. I really felt our special teams made a difference today." Butler punter Rob Blevins averaged 37.0 yards on six kicks in the game, and Drake averaged just 2.7 return yards on the six punts.

FAMILIAR LEADER: When Butler leading tackler Mike Bennett went to the bench with an injury in the first half of the Drake game, head coach Jeff Voris didn't have to look far to find someone to step up and fill the void. Junior linebacker Derek Guggenberger, who led the Bulldogs in tackles last season despite not starting a single game, took over against Drake and led all players with a career-high 12 tackles. He had a team-high six solo tackles, including one of Butler's five tackles for loss in the contest.

Derek Guggenberger is tied for fourth in the PFL in tackles (8.2 pg).

BIG PLAY: Senior tight end Luke Johnson only caught one pass against Drake, but it turned out to be one of the biggest receptions of the game. With the Bulldogs holding on to a two-point lead and facing a third and three situation at their own 27-yard line late in the third quarter, Johnson hauled in a four-yard pass from quarterback Matt Kobli to give Butler a crucial first down. Butler continued to march down field and ultimately scored the decisive touchdown with 1:31 left in the third period.

FEET FIRST: Senior placekicker Jordan Quiroz was successful on all three of his PAT kick attempts against Drake, boosting his career scoring total to 141 points. He enters this week's action in 12th place on Butler's all-time scoring list, just two points behind Mario Neto Brocchi (1998-2001) in 11th place. Quiroz has connected on 72 of 78 PAT kicks and 23 of 36 field goal attempts during his Butler career.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Senior linebacker Mike Bennett is one of 164 semifinalists for the 2008 Draddy Trophy and a candidate for a National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame National Scholar-Athlete Award. The awards recognize college football players for athletic performance, academic excellence and community leadership. Bennett is an honor student and a four-year football regular for the Bulldogs.

•Mike Bennett was sidelined by injury during the Drake game, but he may be available for action at Campbell. Bennett had three tackles against Drake, boosting his Butler career total to 199 tackles.

•Sophomore running back Scott Gray, who led the PFL in scoring last year, has begun working out with the Bulldogs and may be available for action as soon as the Campbell game. Gray, who was Butler's leading rusher last year, has missed the Bulldogs' first four games with injury.

•Sophomore quarterback Matt Kobli continues to rank second in the PFL in passing efficiency (142.4) and total offense (266.2 ypg). He ranks fourth in the circuit in passing average (215.5 ypg) and is tied for fifth in the league in rushing (50.8 ypg).

•Matt Kobli is the only player in the PFL to own a 100-yard rushing game and a 300-yard passing game this season.

•Junior Dan Bohrer stands second in the PFL in receiving yards (74.0 ypg), and he's third in receptions (5.5 pg). Bohrer had a team-high four catches for 41 yards in Butler's win over Drake.

•Junior Spencer Summerville had a season-long, 31-yard kickoff return against Drake. He finished the game with four returns for 86 yards and moved into 10th place in the PFL in kickoff returns (19.8 ypr). Summerville also ranks 11th in the PFL in tackles (7.2).

•Sophomore Tadd Dombart continues to lead the PFL in punt return average (22.2).

•Redshirt-freshman Grant Hunter ranks fourth in the PFL in quarterback sacks. The Butler defensive end has three sacks in four games this season.

•Running back Ryan Hitchcock has had a career-high 12 rushing attempts in each of Butler's past two games. He scored his first career rushing touchdown at Missouri S & T and added a second TD against Drake.