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Butler Bulldogs Set for First Home Game under the Lights against Franklin

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs (0-1) are seeking their first win of the season as they open the home portion of the 2015 campaign Saturday under the lights against the Franklin Grizzlies (0-1). Kickoff at the Butler Bowl is set for 6:30 p.m. It’s the only night game for the Bulldogs this season.

Butler holds a 38-16-2 advantage in the all-time series against Franklin. The teams last met in 2013 at Franklin when the Bulldogs won, 31-28 . Butler running backs coach Patrick Doherty is a Franklin alum, graduating in 2012 after serving as a student assistant with the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies’ last win in the series came in 2008, with a 31-28 triumph at Butler. Franklin seeks to even its season record in the non-conference finale, after losing the home opener, 34-24, to Illinois Wesleyan University last Saturday.

Redshirt senior quarterback Matt Shiltz threw for a touchdown and ran for another, but it wasn’t enough as the Indiana State Sycamores defeated Butler, 52-17, Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The Sycamores of the Missouri Valley Conference utilized a powerful running game to score the win. ISU rushed for 303 yards on 34 carries with five of their seven touchdowns coming on the ground. LeMonte Booker led the Sycamores with 137 yards.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Marquese Martin-Hayes and Guy DiBalsamo
Photo: Butler Athletics/Marquese Martin-Hayes and Guy DiBalsamo

In his return from a season ending injury to injury to his throwing hand against Campbell in the Bulldogs’ sixth contest of the 2014 season, QB Matt Shiltz led Butler in passing yards and rushing yards on Saturday against Indiana State. Shiltz threw for 114 yards through the air and a touchdown and rushed for 76 yards on 11 carries. Most of those yards came on a 75-yard touchdown run. Shiltz also made a case for top receiving output, hauling in a 19-yard pass off a lateral to redshirt sophomore Sam Schrader. Ten Bulldogs recorded receptions against Indiana State. Senior WR Marquese Martin-Hayes led the Bulldogs with three catches and a touchdown reception. Redshirt sophomore Nick Weaver was among four players with two catches and had a team-high 45 yards.

Redshirt sophomore RB Sam Schrader ran for only 23 yards on 14 attempts for an average of 1.6 yards and a long of 8 on Saturday. Senior RB Rico Watson added 19 yards on 5 attempts for an average of 3.8 yards per carry and a long of 11.

Redshirt junior safety Zach LaRoche had a team-high eight solo tackles at Indiana State. He assisted on another. Junior DL Josh Willis had 1.5 sacks at Indiana State, matching his season total from 2014. Redshirt freshman DE Mark Geers had a memorable day in his first snaps as a Butler Bulldog. One two occasions, the defensive end used his 6-7 frame to tip passes from Indiana State’s quarterback. The first one fell to the ground for Geers’ first career pass break-up. He corralled the second tipped ball for his first career interception.

Senior kicker Jonathan Treloar connected on all of his attempts at Indiana State. He made a 39-yard field goal as the first half clock expired and added two extra points. Senior captain Brian Akialis had a busy Saturday against Indiana State. As a wide receiver, he had two catches for 12 yards. He also had 10 punts with an average of 38.1 yards. Akialis was a preseason All-Pioneer Football League selection as a punter, but will see an increased role on offense this season. He caught two passes in 2012 and one pass in 2013.

Thirteen players got their first snaps in a Butler uniform on Saturday against Indiana State. True freshmen Dalton Rogers (DB), Carter Raleigh (LB), and Nik Kessel (DL), redshirt freshmen Kevin Driscoll (DB), Noah Cralle (DB), Patrick Mosby (OL), Dakota Sneed (OL), Thomas Baldwin (WR), Matt Hawkins (DL), and Mark Geers (DL), along with transfers Danny Banks (DL) and Dylan Banks (LB) comprised the group. Thirty-seven letterwinners return from a season ago. Butler’s roster has grown to 110 for the 2015 season. That includes 43 true freshmen, two transfers, and 20 redshirt freshmen who could potentially take their first snaps in a Butler uniform.

The Bulldogs will look to improve on the defensive side of the ball, especially on stopping the run on Saturday at home. The offense will look to put together more drives early and often under the lights at the Butler Bowl.

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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