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Butler Bulldogs Return Home to Host Jacksonville

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, hot off a dominating performance last weekend on the road, return home to the Sellick Bowl to host the Jacksonville Dolphins on Saturday, October 15. The Pioneer Football League match-up is set to kick-off at noon.

Butler is 3-3 overall and 1-2 in PFL play following a 44-6 win at Morehead State last weekend. Jacksonville is one of three PFL teams still undefeated in league play (2-0), and is 4-1 on the season. The Dolphins currently sit atop the nation in rushing offense with an average of 318.6 yards per game. In three games this season, Jacksonville has recorded 300 or more rushing yards, highlighted by a program-record 514 versus Guilford.

This is the 11th meeting in the series between the two programs. Jacksonville holds an unofficial 8-2 advantage in the match-ups, but vacated results from 2010-14. The teams first met in 2005. Butler and Jacksonville did not play during the 2016 and 2015 seasons (Butler also did not face PFL opponent Stetson in those years). In the most recent match-up, Jacksonville won, 35-7, on Sept. 27, 2014 in Indianapolis during Homecoming weekend.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Redshirt Senior RB Duvante Lane

Last time out on the field, Butler’s rushing attack compiled 253 yards and six touchdowns by three different players as the Bulldogs overpowered Morehead State, 44-6, Saturday afternoon at Jayne Stadium in Morehead, Ky. The victory was the largest PFL win for the Bulldogs since a 72-12 victory over Valparaiso on Nov. 9, 2013. Redshirt senior RB Duvante Lane had 99 yards rushing and three touchdown. Lane’s 32-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds remaining in the first half sent the teams into the locker room with the Bulldogs leading, 24-0. The lead grew to 44-0 early in the fourth quarter after a three-yard scoring run from redshirt senior RB Sam Schrader and two more touchdowns by Lane. It was Lane’s backfield mate, redshirt junior RB Anthony Scaccia, who registered the first two touchdowns of the game as he scored from two yards and 19 yards in the first quarter to give Butler a 14-0 lead. Scaccia had 80 total yards (45 rushing and 35 receiving) on the day.

Behind the running game, Butler held the ball for 38:25 in the contest. The Bulldogs had 25 first downs compared to 14 for the host Eagles, and had a 437-230 advantage in total yards.

Butler redshirt senior RB Duvante Lane is sixth in the PFL in rushing at 61.5 yards per game. His five touchdowns are fourth in the PFL. Earlier this season, Lane led the ground attack at Franklin on Sept. 9, posting 117 yards on 26 carries. It was Lane’s third career 100-yard rushing game. His career-high of 29 carries and 156 yards came against Valparaiso in 2016. Lane was a preseason All-PFL honoree after finding the end zone nine times last season.

Senior S Isaak Newhouse led the Bulldogs with nine tackles, including five solo stops. His 9.5 tackles per game and 6.5 solo tackles per game are third and first, respectively, in the PFL. Newhouse has led the Bulldogs in tackles in four of the team’s six games. He had 11 tackles (eight solo) at San Diego on Sept. 23. That performance followed a 14-tackle (12 solo) game against Illinois State in the 2017 opener.

Butler junior WR Pace Temple has picked up right where he left off as a sophomore. Temple has accumulated 582 receiving yards through the team’s six games this season. He has eclipsed 100 yards three times in 2017 and has six 100-yard performances during his career.

Temple had seven grabs for 138 yards in the Sept. 30 loss to Drake. That followed his eight catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns Sept. 23 at San Diego. His career-high of 156 receiving yards came at Franklin on Sept. 9. Temple now has 111 career receptions.

Temple’s 582 receiving yards lead the PFL and are ninth nationally. His 97.0 yards per game and 18.2 yards per reception are both second in the conference. The preseason All-PFL selection had 978 receiving yards in 2016, which was 24th in FCS.

Freshman WR Cam Cooper has played a key role in the return game, averaging 21.0 yards on kick returns and 8.4 yards on 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).

Butler leads the PFL in time of possession (33:06). That is highlighted by Butler’s offense having the ball for 44:21 minutes Sept. 9 at Franklin. Franklin had possession of the ball for only 4:22 of the second half’s 30 minutes.

Butler scored on five of six trips to the red zone Saturday, including four touchdowns. The Bulldogs are second in red zone offense, scoring on 90 percent of their trips inside the 20 this season. The Bulldogs have scored on 18-of-20 red zone possessions, including 13 touchdowns.

The Bulldogs’ defense played a huge role in Saturday’s win at Morehead State by causing seven fumbles (recovering five), grabbing an interception, and sacking the MSU quarterback four times. Those turnovers led to 20 Butler points.

On the season, Butler’s eight fumble recoveries lead the PFL and are third in the country. The Bulldogs have only committed three turnovers on the season (all interceptions), and that figure is third in FCS while also leading the conference.

Butler has allowed an average of 3.8 yards per punt return, which is second the PFL and is 16th nationally. Butler’s kick-off coverage unit is also second-best in the PFL, surrendering only 17.7 yards per kick-off return.

Saturday’s game is the first of two consecutive home games as Oct. 21 is Homecoming on the Butler campus with Campbell coming to Indianapolis.

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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