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Butler Bulldogs Return Home to Face Dayton

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs return to the Butler Bowl on Saturday, October 22 after a thrilling, come-from-behind win last weekend on the road against Davidson. The Bulldogs seek their second Pioneer Football League win of the season as they host the Dayton Flyers in a 1 p.m. contest. Butler is now 3-4 overall on the season and 1-3 in PFL play. Dayton enters at 5-2 (3-1 in PFL).

The Flyers lead the all-time series 28-12-1, including winning the last two meetings after Butler had previously won three in a row. Butler and Dayton are two of the original six charter members of the Pioneer Football League, which is in its 24th season. Current members Drake, San Diego and Valparaiso were also charter members, along with Evansville.

Last time the two teams played, a 50-yard rushing touchdown from Tucker Yinger gave Dayton its only lead of the night and ultimately the 27-24 win over Butler Oct. 24, 2015 in Ohio. Butler QB Matt Shiltz had 319 yards through the air and another 59 on the ground for Butler. Butler had a 24-14 lead with 10:45 to play in the third quarter.

Last time out for the Bulldogs, freshman K Drew Bevelhimer hit a 29-yard field goal at the end of regulation that gave Butler the 20-17 come-from-behind win over Davidson last Saturday afternoon in North Carolina. The Bulldogs overcame a 14-0 second quarter deficit. For his heroics and perfect game, Bevelhimer was selected as the Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week. Bevelhimer made both of his field goal attempts Saturday.

Bevelhimer was also an honorable mention selection by STATS for FCS National Freshman Player of the Week. His game-winning field goal was the first for Butler since the 2009 season that occurred as time expired. Bevelhimer is 8-of-10 on field goal attempts this season

Redshirt senior QB Malcolm Weaver entered the game in the second half Saturday at Davidson with the team trailing 14-7. He provided an immediate impact. On his third snap under center, Weaver broke loose for a 90-yard touchdown run that tied the game. It was just short of the Butler record, which is a 96-yard touchdown run. That has occurred twice in Butler history. Weaver finished the day with 110 yards rushing on only six carries. It was his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season, following 114 yards on only seven carries at Taylor Sept. 17.

With Davidson driving in the closing minutes, Butler’s defense was able to make a play and give its offense one last attempt at the win. Davidson had driven all the way to the Bulldogs’ nine with the tie scored at 17 before redshirt senior S Zach LaRoche snagged an interception. He returned it to the 20 and handed the ball to the Butler offense with 2:31 to play. It was Davidson’s only turnover in the game.

Butler’s defense has caused 10 turnovers on the season, with nine different players accounting for those takeaways. Redshirt junior DB Adam Chappelle has two interceptions while eight others have one interception or one fumble recovery.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Redshirt Senior DT Jordan Ransone
Photo: Butler Athletics/Redshirt Senior DT Jordan Ransone

Redshirt senior DT Jordan Ransone had another 1.5 sacks at Davidson, pushing his team-leading total for the season to 5.5. In contrast, Butler has only given up five total sacks to opponents in 2016. Ransone’s 5.5 sacks are tied for second in the PFL. In addition to Jordan Ransone’s 5.5 sacks, the remaining 7.5 sacks for Butler this season are split among seven players

Butler’s defense limited Marist’s running attack to only 55 yards on 33 attempts Oct. 8. The 55 yards tied Franklin’s performance on Sept. 10 for a season-low by a Butler opponent. On the season, Butler is third in the PFL lead in fewest rushing yards allowed (122.1 yards per game).

Redshirt senior P Ian Dobek is second in the PFL, averaging 40.4 yards per punt. Against Marist two weeks ago, he also placed four of his five punts inside the 20. The Bulldogs are netting 39.7 yards per punt thanks to tremendous coverage that has allowed a total of nine return yards this season on 33 total punts. That mark is eighth-best in FCS. Redshirt sophomore CB Mike Cerone has blocked two kicks this season. Only two players have blocked more in the FCS division. Cerone also leads the Bulldogs with five pass break-ups.

Sophomore WR Pace Temple has 649 receiving yards through the team’s seven games this season. That mark is second in the PFL. His 40 receptions and average of 92.7 yards receiving per game are both third in the conference. He had a career-high 128 yards receiving at Campbell Sept. 24.

In addition to leading the PFL in receiving yards, Pace Temple is 11th in the FCS Division with his 649 receiving yards.

Redshirt junior RB Duvante Lane is tied for third in the PFL with seven rushing touchdowns. Lane had his first 100-yard game as a Bulldog in the home opener Sept. 10 against Franklin.

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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