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Butler Bulldogs Host Princeton in 2018 Home Opener

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs will host the Princeton Tigers in the 2018 home opener at the Sellick Bowl on Saturday, September 15. The undefeated Bulldogs (2-0) will be the first opponent of the season for the Tigers. Kick-off is set for 6 PM ET.

Butler hasn’t lost a home opener since 2008. Head Coach Jeff Voris took over the program in 2006 and is 11-1 in home openers as a Bulldog. Butler is 2-0 at the start of the season for the first time since 2009.

Butler and Princeton have never met on the gridiron. Butler’s last game against an Ivy League opponent came in 2013 when they hosted Dartmouth. The Big Green held on for a 30-23 victory. Butler hosted Princeton last year at Hinkle Fieldhouse for a men’s basketball game. The Bulldogs won 85-75.

Princeton hasn’t played a game this year, but they were picked second in the 2018 Ivy League Preseason Media Poll, just behind defending champ Yale. The Tigers went 5-5 overall last year, losing their final four games of the season by a combined 18 points. Cornell got them by one, Penn won by three and Yale claimed a four-point win. The biggest difference was a 10-point setback at Dartmouth. Princeton played the Pioneer Football League San Diego Toreros last year in their season opener. They defeated the Toreros on their home field 27-17.

Team captains for the Tigers are LB Mark Fossati, DL Kurt Holuba, LB Tom Johnson and QB John Lovett. Lovett, the 2016 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, was also named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team (He missed the 2017 season due to offseason surgery).

Redshirt senior QB Will Marty has five touchdowns over the first two games of the season. Three through the air and two on the ground. Marty had seven passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in 2017. 

 Marty’s 21 completions at Taylor went to eight different targets.

Redshirt junior RB Brad Sznajder ran for 163 yards at Taylor. No Bulldog has run for more yards since the 2014 season when Sam Schrader erupted for 193 on the ground. Sznajder and redshirt senior RB Anthony Scaccia each recorded their first touchdowns of the season at Taylor.

Butler rushed for 250 yards at Taylor with three of their four touchdowns coming on the ground. They have not rushed for 250 yards since last year’s game vs. Morehead State (10/7/17).

Photo: Butler Athletics/Redshirt Senior Running Back Anthony Scaccia

Redshirt junior TE Sam Yeaton has filled in nicely at tight end for the Bulldogs. Yeaton has six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown over the first two games of the season. Yeaton caught a 32-yard pass at Taylor. He ended the game with three catches for 60 yards.

Butler went 8-for-17 on third down at Taylor and 1-for-1 on fourth down. They were 5-for-5 in the red zone with four touchdowns and a field goal.

Butler’s balanced offensive attack has produced 21 first downs on the ground and 22 through the air.

Junior LB Mason Brunner came up with the first sack of the season for Butler. He ranks second in the PFL in tackles for loss (3.5).

Redshirt junior DB Luke Sennett leads the team in tackles with 19, he’s the top returning tackler from a year ago (57) and currently ranks fourth in the PFL.

Redshirt senior DT Matt Hawkins leads the team with three QB hurries.

Butler only allowed two third-down conversions at Taylor. (13 attempts). More importantly, Butler denied Taylor on all three of their fourth-down conversion tries.

Butler leads the PFL in scoring defense by only allowing 19 points per game. Butler is the least penalized team in the PFL.

Butler hasn’t started a season 3-0 since 2009 when they posted an 11-1 overall record.

Butler went 2-1 during night games in 2017. They lost at Illinois State, but claimed wins over Franklin and Taylor. This is the seventh-straight season with Butler playing under the lights in their home opener.

Butler’s bye week falls on Sept. 22 this season. The team will return to action on Sept. 29 with a 1 PM kick-off against Morehead State. The PFL opener will double as homecoming.

Christopher 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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