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Butler Bulldogs Open 2018 Season at No. 24 Youngstown State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off a 6-5 overall 2017 season with a 4-4 mark in the Pioneer Football League, will kick-off the 2018 season at Stambaugh Stadium against the #24 Youngstown State Penguins on Saturday, September 1. Fans can catch the game live on ESPN+ at 2 PM.

Butler is 6-6 in season openers under the direction of head coach Jeff Voris. Butler won five-straight season openers from 2007-11, but have gone 1-5 since. Butler lost 45-0 at Illinois State last year in the season opener.

Butler and Youngstown State last met on the gridiron during the 2014 season with the Penguins earning a 44-13 win at Stambaugh Stadium. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-3 lead after the first quarter, but a 28-3 second quarter would determine the outcome. YSU added a field goal in the third and finished off the fourth with 10 more points.

Butler’s only other meeting vs. YSU under Voris was a 31-7 setback at YSU during the 2010 season.

Senior WR Pace Temple nearly accounted for half of Butler’s receiving yards in 2017 by hauling in 65 catches for 1,075 yards. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch and 97.7 yards per game. Pace Temple scored four touchdowns last year. His longest grab of the season was 40 yards.

Pace Temple became the fourth Bulldog in program history to eclipse 1,000 yards in 2017. Temple had five 100-yard receiving games last season, moving him to second in career yards at BU with 2,267 (1st – Zach Watkins, 2,994).

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Bulldogs

Redshirt senior QB Will Marty returns as the starting QB in 2018 for the Bulldogs. Marty threw for 2,198 yards in 2017 averaging 200 passing yards per contest. He ended his junior campaign with seven touchdowns through the air and two on the ground. Will Marty completed 58.6 percent of his pass attempts in 2017.

Redshirt junior RB Brad Sznajder and redshirt senior RB Anthony Scaccia will split time at RB this season with both Duvante Lane and Sam Schrader departing due to graduation. Sznajder and Scaccia combined for 473 rushing yards in 2017.

Redshirt junior DB Luke Sennett is the top returning tackler on the team for Butler. Sennett recorded 57 tackles and also led the team with four interceptions.

Junior LB Mason Brunner is penciled in as the team’s starting middle linebacker for the 2018 season. Brunner recorded the second-highest tackle total of any returner from the 2017 season with 53. He made two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and added a sack to his stat line.

Seven of Butler’s top ten tacklers from last season are gone in 2018. Joining Sennett and Bruner in the top ten from a year ago is redshirt junior LB Xavier Colvin

All-Conference junior K Drew Bevelhimer highlights the special team unit this season. Bevelhimer led the PFL in made field goals last year with 16. Mason Brunner will handle the snap and redshirt junior QB Cameron Towns will put down the hold. Bevelhimer connected on 16 of 21 field goal attempts last year. He went 30-32 on PATs.

Butler will rely on two seniors on the right, two juniors on the left and another senior at center to form an experienced offensive line this year. Butler only allowed seven sacks last year.

Colin Johnson will coach the offensive line this year and Craig Neece will take over as the tight end coach. Bryan Bing will be on the other side coaching up the defensive tackles. Butler coaches Kyle Conner (’01), Derek Day (’09) and Spencer Summerville (’10) are all Butler grads.

Redshit freshman TE Austin Schwantz, redshirt freshman DE Mickey Kane and redshirt freshman CB Devin Aguilar will all see significant playing time this year. Schwantz is slated to start at TE, while Kane will line up at DE. Aguilar will line up outside Kane at CB. Redshirt freshman WR Adam Baker and redshirt freshman CB Joe Zuccari are two other redshirt-freshmen that appear on the two-deep depth chart.

A full roster breakdown features 37 players from Illinois, 25 players from Ohio, 15 players from Indiana, six players from North Carolina, four from both Maryland and Georgia, three from both Michigan and Kentucky, two from both Virginia and Texas, and singles from Tennessee, Iowa, Colorado, and Missouri. Butler redshirt senior starting DT Ugo Udeogu is from Imo, Nigeria.

The 2018 Preseason Poll has Butler in a tie with Valpo for fourth place.

Butler ranked third in the PFL last year in total defense (354.4). The Bulldogs only allowed 110.4 yards on the ground last year, the second-best mark in the PFL.

Butler ranked third in the PFL in 3rd down conversions (42.9%). The Bulldogs were the second-least penalized team in the PFL one year ago and tied San Diego for the top spot in the conference in time of possession. Butler also led the league in Red Zone efficiency (87.8, 36/41 – 25 TDs, 11 FGs).

10 of Butler’s 11 projected starters on offense are upperclassmen. 9 of 11 on defense.

Butler will play at Taylor in week two of the regular season. Kick-off is slated for 6 PM in Upland, Ind.

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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