INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, looking for their first Pioneer Football League win this season, will return home to host the Drake Bulldogs on Saturday, September 30. The “Battle of the Bulldogs” is set for a 1:00 PM ET kick-off at the Sellick Bowl. Butler sits at 2-2 (0-1 PFL) while Drake enters with a 2-2 (1-0 PFL) record on the season.
Drake enters the contest off a 38-13 win at Valparaiso last Saturday. Drake owns a 17-8-1 lead in the all-time series between the two universities. Drake won the 2016 matchup, 28-14.
Last time on the field, Butler junior WR Pace Temple led the offensive attack with eight catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-17 loss to San Diego on Saturday. It was just shy of his career-high of 156 receiving yards at Franklin earlier this season on September 9th. His first half included 130 yards receiving. He now has 101 career receptions and five career 100-yard games.
Temple, a Preseason All-Pioneer Football League selection, had 978 receiving yards in 2016, which was 24th in FCS. Temple’s average of 92.3 receiving yards per game this season is third in the PFL and 20th nationally.
Freshman WR Cam Cooper has played a key role in the Butler return game, averaging 21.5 and 8.4 yards, respectively, on kick-off and punt returns this season. He had season-best returns in the win over Taylor (37 yards on a kick-off return and 32 yards on a punt return). He has 59 return yards on seven punts this season (despite missing the San Diego game due to injury); by contrast, Butler has allowed an average of 1.17 yards per punt return, which leads the PFL and is tenth nationally.
Butler senior S Isaak Newhouse has led the Bulldogs in tackles in three of the four games this season. He had 11 tackles (eight solo) at San Diego. Newhouse had a 14-tackle (12 solo) game against Illinois State in the 2017 opener. Newhouse averages 9.8 tackles per game this season, which is third in the PFL. His average of 7.0 solo tackles per game leads the PFL and is fourth nationally.
Senior LB Ethan Brunhofer joined Newhouse as honorable mention All-PFL choices last season. Brunhofer is the team’s leading returning tackler with 74 a season ago, including a career-high 12 in the game against Marist. Fellow linebackers David Starkey and Sean Horan had 77 and 75, respectively, before graduating.
Redshirt sophomore DB Luke Sennett grabbed the second interception of his Butler career Saturday at San Diego. He has both of the Bulldogs’ picks this season. Redshirt senior DE Josh Willis and redshirt senior DL Chad Burdo are tied for the team-lead with 1.5 sacks apiece.
Jeff Voris, in his 12th season on the Butler sidelines, enters Saturday’s contest with a 66-62 mark at Butler.
Butler has averaged 32:25 per game in time of possession, second in the conference. That is highlighted by Butler’s offense having the ball for 44:21 minutes on Sept. 9 at Franklin. Franklin had possession of the ball for only 4:22 of the second half’s 30 minutes.
Butler has converted six of its eight fourth-down attempts this season, while their opponents are 4-for-4 on fourth down as well. The Bulldogs have also scored in 10-of-11 red zone possessions, including eight touchdowns.
Butler has only committed two turnovers through its four games this season. That leads the PFL as all other league teams have at least four turnovers. Butler is fourth in FCS in fewest turnovers committed.
Butler was picked to finish seventh in the Pioneer Football League preseason poll. The conference’s 11 head coaches voted in the poll and were not allowed to vote for their own team. San Diego was picked as the preseason favorite.
Butler continues conference play next weekend, traveling to Morehead State (Saturday, Oct.7).
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.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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