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Butler Bulldogs Fall at No. 16 Youngstown State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, looking to go 2-0 to start the season for the first time since 2009, were upended by the No. 16 Youngstown State Penguins on Saturday in Youngstown, Ohio. The Penguins turned in a enormous second quarter offensive performance and a strong second half defense to defeat visiting Butler, 44-13, on Saturday, Sept. 13. The road loss dropped the Bulldogs to 1-1 on the young season.

Penguins’ freshman quarterback Hunter Wells passed for 297 yards and four touchdowns to spark Youngstown State’s potent offense. Three of those touchdown passes ended in the hands of senior wide receiver Jelani Berassa, all in the second quarter. Berassa caught a 25-yard strike to give the host squad the lead for good at 17-10, and then he added 72-yard and 26-yard touchdown receptions to stretch Youngstown State’s halftime lead to 31-13.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Jon Treloar (Brent Smith)
Photo: Butler Athletics/Jon Treloar (Brent Smith)

The Penguins (2-1) added a touchdown and two field goals in the second half for the final margin.

Butler, playing its second consecutive road contest to open the season, came out guns ablaze against the nationally-ranked Penguins. The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in nine plays, grabbing an early 7-0 lead on a 10-yard Matt Shiltz to Daniel Cotter touchdown pass. The big play of the drive was a 29-yard connection from Shiltz to junior Marquese Martin-Hayes.

Youngstown State answered with a 27-yard field goal by Joey Cejudo, but the Bulldogs came right back and marched 71 yards in 12 plays to take a 10-3 advantage. Junior Jon Treloar capped the scoring drive with a 22- yard field goal.

Treloar added a career-long, 39-yard field goal in the second quarter to cut the Penguins’ lead to 17-13, but the host squad then ran off 27 unanswered points for the final margin. The Penguins limited Butler to 96 yards and five first downs after intermission.

Shiltz, playing just his second game at quarterback for the Bulldogs, turned in a career-best offensive performance. He completed 21 of 31 passes with no interceptions for 221 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a team-high 75 yards on 18 attempts.

Eight different Bulldogs caught passes from Shiltz, with senior receiver Derek O’Connor and sophomore receiver Brandon Collins leading the way with four catches each. Martin-Hayes had three receptions for a team-best 73 yards.

As a team, Butler rolled up 346 yards in total offense. The Bulldogs had 17 first downs, while the home team racked up 23.

Senior safety JoJo Ciancio and junior linebacker Jordan Massey led Butler’s defense with seven tackles each against the Penguins. Senior linebacker Bret Shannon came up with his third quarterback sack of the season in the game.

The Bulldogs will play their home-opener under the lights on Saturday, Sept. 20, against Taylor. The final non-conference game for the Bulldogs is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Butler Bowl.

Chris Fultz is a senior writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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