Surging Bulldogs Continue Homestand Against Jacksonville
TOP DOGS: Butler will put a five-game winning streak and a share of first place in the Pioneer Football League on the line when it hosts Jacksonville on Saturday, Nov. 1. Kickoff for the contest is slated for 12 noon at the Butler Bowl, one hour earlier than Butler's normal 1 p.m. start time. The Bulldogs (6-1) continued to surprise and improved to 4-0 in the PFL for the first time ever with a stirring, 31-21 come-from-behind victory over Morehead State in last weekend's Homecoming game. The four league victories match Butler's PFL win total for the previous five seasons! The five-game winning streak is Butler's longest since 1991, when the Bulldogs won six straight on the way to a 9-2 season and a trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs. Jacksonville (5-3, 3-1 PFL) has been nearly as hot with three straight wins, including a 30-29 upset of preseason league-favorite San Diego on a 50-yard field goal with 1:23 remaining last week. It was San Diego's first loss this season. The Jacksonville game is the second of three straight home contests for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have tied the Butler school-record for PFL wins (4) in a season.
COMEBACK TRAIL: The Bulldogs overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half in their victory over Morehead State. Butler trailed 21-3 at halftime, but responded with 28 unanswered points in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter. It was the biggest margin overcome by Butler as a Division I football program (since 1993) and the largest deficit erased in the past 30 years! The Bulldogs used a defensive score and a special teams score to ignite the rally and then finished the comeback with a pair of touchdown passed midway through the fourth quarter. Butler took the lead for good on a 13-yard scoring pass from Matt Kobli to Dan Bohrer with 8:38 left. Kobli then added an insurance score just over one minute later with a 19-yard scoring strike to Eddie McHale. It was Butler's first victory over Morehead State since 2001, snapping a five-game losing streak to the Eagles.
WINNING WAYS: The Bulldogs' Homecoming victory over Morehead State clinched Butler's first winning season since 1997 (6-4). The last time Butler won more than six games in a season was in 1994, when the Bulldogs finished with a Division I school record 7-3 mark.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT: Sophomore Tadd Dombart helped spark Butler's comeback against Morehead State with an electrifying, 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Bulldogs were trailing 21-10 late in the third quarter, when Dombart fielded a punt at the Butler 25-yard line, broke left and then cut back right to find an open field. He crossed the goal line with just sixth-tenths of a second left on the clock. The punt return for a touchdown was the longest in the PFL this season and the longest by a Butler player in more than 30 years! Dombart was chosen PFL Co-Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort.
Tadd Dombart's 75-yard punt return is the seventh-longest in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision this year.
TURNING POINT: Butler's run of 28 unanswered points in the second half against Morehead State didn't start on offense. Sophomore defensive back Jacob Fritz intercepted a pass early in the third quarter and returned it 39 yards for Butler's first touchdown in the game. It was his first touchdown return this season and the second of his young Butler career. It also was the third interception return for a touchdown by the Bulldogs this season.
CHART CLIMBING: Sophomore quarterback Matt Kobli completed 25 of 40 passes for 259 yards in Butler's win over Morehead State. That boosted his season passing total to 1,609 yards and lifted him into 14th place on Butler's single season passing chart. Kobli added 22 rushing yards against the Eagles to finish with 281 yards in total offense. He continues to lead the Pioneer Football League in total offense (285.4 ypg), while ranking second in pass efficiency (152.5). He's third in the league in passing average (229.9) and fifth in the circuit in rushing (55.6).
Matt Kobli ranks 10th in the NCAA Division I FCS in total offense (285.4).
FINAL CLOSEOUT: Junior Spencer Summerville helped spark the Bulldogs' strong second half defensive effort against Morehead State. The Butler strong safety recorded a career-high 11 tackles against the Eagles, including one quarterback sack for a loss of 13 yards. It was one of four Butler sacks in the game. Butler limited the visitors to 90 yards in the final 30 minutes, while keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard.
Butler ranks second in the PFL in scoring defense (16.6).
KICK SCORING: Senior placekicker Jordan Quiroz tallied seven points in Butler's victory over Morehead State, boosting his career scoring total to 162 points and moving him into a tie for seventh place on Butler's all-time scoring list. He's 10 points shy of Kevin McDevitt, 1973-76, in sixth place. Quiroz has moved into third place in the PFL in kick scoring this season with 41 points.
•Butler will pay tribute to the 1983 football team on Saturday at the Jacksonville game. It's the 25th anniversary of that squad becoming the first Butler football team to reach the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Bulldogs finished 9-1-1 in 1983.
•Butler's current five-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest in the NCAA Division I FCS. The Bulldogs' four-game road winning streak is tied for the fourth-longest in Division FCS.
•Freshman Thorn Murphy recorded his first career blocked punt in the fourth quarter against Morehead State, setting up Butler's final touchdown in the game. It was Butler's first blocked punt this season.
•Freshmen Zach Watkins and Jordan Koopman both had career days against Morehead State. Watkins had a career-high four receptions for a career-best 75 yards in the game, while Koopman added career-highs of four catches and 48 yards.
•Senior Mike Bennett had an active afternoon against Morehead State with four solo tackles, two assists, one quarterback sack for a loss of 13 yards and one pass interception, which he returned 23 yards.
•Redshirt-freshman Grant Hunter has taken over the lead in the PFL in quarterback sacks with seven. He had a pair of quarterback sacks against Morehead State. Hunter ranks second in the league in tackles for loss with 10 (1.43).
•Junior Dan Bohrer stands second in the PFL in both receiving yards (69.9 ypg) and receptions (5.6 pg). He had four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown against Morehead State.
•Sophomore Rob Blevins had a career-long 57-yard punt against Morehead State. He ranks fourth in the PFL in punting (37.2).
•Sophomore defensive back Tadd Dombart leads the PFL in punt return average (25.9), and he's tied for ninth in the league in pass interceptions (0.29).
•Sophomore running back Scott Gray, who led the PFL in scoring last year, has missed Butler's first seven games this season with injury.