INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs, coming off a 6-5 overall 2017 season with a 4-4 mark in the Pioneer Football League, traveled to face the #24 Youngstown State Penguins to open the 2018 season on Saturday, September 1. Butler junior K Drew Bevelhimer drilled a 44-yard field goal with just four seconds on the game clock to give Butler a 23-21 victory.
The Penguins won the toss and opened the game at their own 25-yard line after a touchback on the opening kick. The Penguins gained five yards on 2nd and 10, but a false start on 3rd down set the Penguins up with 3rd and 10. A 6-yard pass forced a punt and a 3-and-out for Youngstown State to open the game.
The Bulldogs wasted no time finding the endzone and rattled off a 4-play, 73-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession. On 1st and 10 at their own 27-yard line, redshirt senior QB Will Marty found senior WR Pace Temple for a gain of 31 yards down the right side of the field to the Youngstown State 42 yard line. Redshirt junior RB Brad Sznajder gained 13 yards on the next play before Will Marty tossed a deep ball down the left side to Pace Temple, who went over the top of the defender to make the catch, for a gain of 28 yards for a 1st and Goal at the Youngstown State 1 yard line. On the next play of the game, Marty found the endzone on a QB keeper up the middle. The extra point by junior K Drew Bevelhimer gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead.
Youngstown State, looking to respond to the opening punch by Butler, rattled off a 68-yard run by senior RB Tevin McCaster to the Butler 7 on 2nd and 10 from the Youngstown State 25 yard line. Following an illegal block in the back penalty on the Penguins, Youngstown State faced 1st and 10 from the Butler 17. The Butler defense forced an incomplete pass on 3rd and 9. Senior K Zak Kennedy sent a 33-yard field goal attempt off the left upright and no good as the Penguins failed to convert the big play to points.
A Butler three-and-out gave the home team Penguins another chance to steal the momentum away from the Bulldogs. The Penguins started on their own 38-yard line before two running plays and 11 yards by McCaster moved the chains to the Youngstown State 49. A 14-yard rush by sophomore RB Christian Turner moved the ball to Butler territory at the 37. A holding penalty against the Penguins on the next play moved the ball back to the Butler 47 and a 1st and 20. But a 14-yard QB keeper by graduate transfer QB Montgomery VanGorder on 3rd and 4 moved the chains to the Butler 17 yard line. A 3-yard run by McCaster on 3rd and 1 set the Penguins up with 1st and Goal at the Butler 5. On 2nd and Goal from the Butler 3, VanGorder found redshirt freshman TE Miles Joiner for the touchdown strike. The extra point tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs were forced to punt again, but the Butler defense came up big on the next Youngstown State possession. On 3rd and 2 at the Butler 46 yard line, the Bulldogs forced a fumble on a McCaster run and the ball was recovered by redshirt freshman DE Mickey Kane.
The Bulldogs took over with great field position at their own 48-yard line. Brad Sznajder gained just enough to move the chains on a 3rd and 2, but Will Marty was sacked for a 6-yard loss on the next play to set up 2nd and 16 at the Youngstown State 48-yard line. On 3rd and 15, Marty found a leaping Pace temple across the right hashmarks for 15 yards, just enough to move the chains. An incomplete pass on 3rd and 4 at the Youngstown State 26-yard line led to bad snap and failed field goal attempt as redshirt junior QB/placeholder Cameron Towns had to throw the ball away and take an intentional grounding penalty.
The Youngstown State Penguins put together a promising drive on their next possession in the final minute of the second quarter. The Penguins started at their own 27 yard line and faced a 3rd and 10 at the Butler 35. An incomplete pass on 3rd down led to a 48-yard field goal attempt, but the kick missed wide right resulting in a second miss on the day.
Both teams headed to halftime tied 7-7.
The Bulldogs received the ball to start the second half and started the drive at their own 25 yard line. On 3rd and 2 at the Butler 44, Will Marty found redshirt junior TE Sam Yeaton for a gain of 10 yards to the Youngstown State 46 yard line. A 15-yard pass interference on the Penguins moved the ball to the Youngstown State 31 yard line. A five-yard pass on 3rd and 4 set Butler up with a 1st and 10 at the Youngstown State 20 before the Bulldogs failed to connect on a 3rd and 5 pass attempt. Butler was set to take the lead on a 32-yard field goal, but the Drew Bevelhimer kick missed wide left.
The Penguins followed the missed field goal determined to take over the game. A 20-yard run by Tevin McCaster on 1st and 10 at their own 40 following the Butler missed field goal sparked back-to-back touchdown drives by Youngstown State. During the first drive, Montgomery VanGorder connected with sophomore WR Samuel St. Surin three straight times for gains of 17, 5 and 26. The 26-yard connection resulted in a touchdown with 4:48 remaining in the 3rd quarter. A Butler punt set the Penguins up with a 1st and 10 at their own 22-yard line. VanGorder guided his offense to another first down to the their own 35-yard line before connecting again with St. Surin for a gain of 18 yards the the Butler 44. On the next play of the game, VanGorder went deep down the right side and connected with junior WR Kendrick Mallory for a 44-yard touchdown bomb. The extra point gave the home team a 21-7 lead with 0:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Thankfully for Butler, Will Marty and the Bulldogs still had an entire quarter to orchestrate a comeback. Butler started the next drive at their own 20-yard line and converted a 3rd and 1 with a 2-yard run by Will Marty. On 3rd and 5 at their own 36-yard line, Marty found redshirt freshman TE Austin Schwantz for a gain 14 to the 50-yard line. Another 15-yard pass interference on an attempt to Pace Temple moved the ball to the Youngstown State 35-yard line. On 3rd and 4 at the Youngstown State 29-yard line, Marty connected with redshirt junior WR James Marbaugh for a gain of 19 yards for a 1st and Goal at the Youngstown State 10-yard line. On 2nd and Goal at the 6-yard line, Marty found the hot hand Pace Temple for a touchdown with 9:20 remaining.
The Butler defense came up with a huge stop on the next Penguins series as the stuffed Tevin McCaster for a 5-yard loss on a 3rd and 1 run at the Youngstown 43. The Penguins were forced to punt and set the Bulldogs up with 1st and 10 at Butler 28 yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Youngstown State after the whistle blew gave Butler an additional 15 yards and a 1st and 10 at the Butler 43. But the Bulldogs were unable to move the chains and were forced to punt.
The Butler defense again made a huge stop and forced an incomplete pass by the Penguins on 3rd and 4 after the punt pinned the Penguins inside their own 10-yard line. The Bulldogs fielded the punt and started at Youngstown State 42. Three straight completions from Will Marty to Pace Temple (7,9,7) moved the ball to Youngstown State 19. A 7-yard run by Will Marty gave Butler a 1st and 10 at the Youngstown State 12-yard line before Marty floated a pass Sam Yeaton for the wide-open touchdown with 1:20 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs decided to go for the 2-point conversion and the lead, but Will Marty was dropped for a big loss on the Youngstown State blitz.
Butler was forced to try the onside kick in order to win the game. The Drew Bevelhimer kick bounced off a Youngstown State player and was recovered by Pace Temple at the Butler 47. Will Marty connected on passes of 8 and 5 yards to move the ball to Youngstown State 40. Marty went to his favorite weapon Pace Temple on the next play for a 13-yard gain to move the ball to the Youngstown State 27. Without any timeouts remaining, Marty was forced to run on 3rd and 10 for a gain of one yard before the field goal team came rushing out on the field as the clock ticked down. With 0:04 remaining in the game, Drew Bevelhimer drilled a 44-yard field goal to give Butler the 23-21 lead.
The Bulldogs were able to stop the Penguins on the ensuing kickoff to seal the upset win over Youngstown State.
Butler redshirt senior QB Will Marty put up great numbers in the season opener throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He connected on 25 of his 38 attempts and also rushed for a TD. His top target was Preseason All-PFL pick, senior WR Pace Temple, who secured 14 balls for 167 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt junior TE Sam Yeaton was Marty’s second-favorite target with three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs played great defense in the fourth to shut out the Penguins and help secure the win. Redshirt freshman DB Devin Aguilar, redshirt junior DB Luke Sennett and junior LB Mason Brunner all shared the team lead with seven tackles. Brunner, redshirt freshman DB Joe Zuccari senior DB Dalton Rodgers all made stops behind the line of scrimmage. Redshirt freshman DE Mickey Kane was credited with a fumble recovery.
Butler will ride this momentum into next weekend when they visit the Taylor Trojans. Kick-off in Upland, Ind. is slated for 6 PM.
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 @CafultzISRand 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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