Bulldogs Visit Top-Ranked Dayton
Oct. 31, 2007
ROAD CHALLENGE: Butler will close out the 2007 season with back-to-back road games beginning with a visit to league-leading and top-ranked Dayton on Saturday, Nov. 3. The Pioneer Football League game will be played at Welcome Stadium with a 1 p.m. (ET) start. Dayton (8-1, 4-1 PFL), coming off an impressive 35-15 victory over previously unbeaten and top ranked San Diego, is ranked No. 1 in The Sports Network Mid-Major poll, the Don Hansen Football poll and the CollegeSportsReport.com poll this week, up one spot from a week ago. The Flyers have won four consecutive games and are unbeaten in five games at Welcome Stadium this season. Dayton quarterback Kevin Hoyng was named PFL Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns and passing for 252 yards and two more touchdowns in the Flyers' victory over San Diego. The Bulldogs (4-5, 0-5 PFL) are seeking rebound from a 44-32 setback at home to Davidson. The loss was Butler's fifth straight, after a season-opening four-game winning streak. The Bulldogs will close out the 2007 season at Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 10.
Butler's 23-20 win over Dayton last season was the first PFL victory for head coach Jeff Voris.
POINTS PLUS: Butler and Davidson combined for 839 yards and 76 points, before the visiting Wildcats escaped the Butler Bowl with a 12-point win last weekend. Davidson running back Justin Williams rushed for 225 yards and scored four touchdowns, while quarterback Ryan Alexander passed for 218 yards and two more TDs to power the visitors. Butler answered with three rushing touchdowns, including two by senior Derek North, and eight defensive points. Trailing 37-32 midway through the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs forced Davidson to punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty kept the Wildcats' drive alive and led to the final clinching touchdown by Williams.
Butler has scored at least 30 points four times this season.
LEAGUE PICK: Sophomore Jacob Fritz was pressed into action in Butler's injury-depleted secondary against Davidson, and his performance in his first starting assignment earned him Pioneer Football League Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors. Fritz led the Bulldogs with a career-high 11 tackles, including a career-best seven solo tackles. He entered the Bulldogs' record book by scoring the first defensive two-point conversion in Butler football history when he scooped up a blocked PAT attempt and returned it 90 yards for the score in the third quarter. And he scored Butler's final touchdown on a 35-yard pass interception return in the fourth quarter. He also had a pass breakup in the contest. Fritz entered the game with five tackles in Butler's first eight games this season.
KICK STOP: Junior linebacker Michael Bennett blocked the Davidson PAT attempt, which led to Butler's first-ever, two-point defensive conversion. It was Bennett's second blocked kick this season. He also blocked a field goal attempt against Drake.
SWITCHING SIGNALS: Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Kobli was called upon early in the Davidson game, when starter T. J. Brown was injured on the third play of the game. Kobli responded by leading the Bulldogs on a 75-yard scoring drive and an early 7-0 lead in the contest. The Butler reserve signal caller capped the 10-play drive with his own one-yard touchdown run. When it became clear that Brown couldn't continue in the game, Kobli took over and led the Bulldogs in both rushing and passing. He gained a career-high 72 yards on 14 carries, including a career-long 25-yard run. And he completed 17 of 29 passes (with no interceptions) for a career-best 163 yards.
Matt Kobli has completed 63% of his passes this season.
TOP 10: Senior T. J. Brown had just 34 passing yards against Davidson, boosting his career passing total to 3,387 yards. He's 140 passing yards shy of Mike Lee (1982-86) in eighth place on Butler's all-time passing list. Brown has 333 career pass completions and 17 career touchdown passes.
BACKFIELD HIT: Quarterback T. J. Brown wasn't the only player in Butler's offensive backfield sidelined by an injury against Davidson. Tailback Scott Gray, the leading scorer in the PFL, suffered an ankle injury in the game and left after just 10 carries. He was replaced by senior Derek North, who was coming off an injury, and North contributed 57 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He scored on a five-yard run to tie the game at 14-14 in the second quarter, and he added a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The two scores were his first touchdowns of the season. Both Brown and Gray are questionable for Butler's game at Dayton.
CHART CLIMB: Senior wide receiver Nate Miller had five pass receptions for 35 yards against Davidson, boosting his career totals to 125 catches for 1,400 yards. He's moved into third place on Butler's all-time list for pass receptions, and he's 129 yards shy of John Barron, 1985-88, in 10th place on Butler's all-time list for receiving yards. Miller had a team-high nine catches for 54 yards against Dayton last year.
Senior safety Dale Murzyn recorded his 100th career tackle in Butler's game against Davidson. Murzyn had six tackles in the contest, boosting his career total to 102.
Senior defensive end Chris Marzotto, who suffered a neck sprain at Morehead State, was sidelined for the Davidson game, snapping a streak of 30 consecutive starts.
Linebacker Michael Bennett came up with his first pass interception of the season against Davidson. It was the third pass theft of his career.
Running back Scott Gray sits in seventh place on Butler's single season scoring list with 90 points. Only four players in Butler football history have scored 100 or more points in a season. Gray leads the PFL in scoring with 15 touchdowns (10.0 ppg).
Butler leads the PFL in team punt return avg. (11.6), and freshman Tadd Dombart tops the league in individual punt return avg. (12.5).
Sophomore Spencer Summerville stands fourth in the PFL in kick return average (25.0 ypr). Summerville had five kick returns for 81 yards against Davidson.
Junior Jordan Quiroz stands third in the PFL in field goals with eight. Quiroz had a 26-yard field goal against Davidson. He has 20 field goals for his career, but none against Dayton.
The Bulldogs lead the PFL in time of possession (33.21). Butler had more than an 11-minute advantage in time of possession against Davidson.
Senior linebacker Mike Marzotto ranks second among active PFL players in career tackles with 236. Brian Kelly of Dayton has 241. Marzotto had 13 tackles against Dayton last year.
Wide receiver Dan Bohrer had three catches for a career-high 101 yards against Dayton a year ago. Bohrer had an 80-yard touchdown catch in the game.
Butler's average home attendance (2,177) this season was the highest average in the past four years.