The Butler football team’s chances of repeating as Pioneer Football League winners is starting to fade.
The rushing attack of the Campbell Camels (2-3, 1-1 PFL) was too much for the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-2 PFL) to handle, leading to a 27-10 loss Saturday at the Butler Bowl.
“We didn’t do what we set out to do,” head coach Jeff Voris said. “We didn’t get any takeaways or do anything to change their offensive philosophy.”
The philosophy for the Camels was running the ball as often as possible, and they did so very effectively.
Junior running back Rashaun Brown racked up 91 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
The Camels’ senior quarterback Daniel Polk had 61 yards rushing to go along with his 8-for-16 passing performance. Polk threw for 66 yards and one touchdown.
“They ran the ball well, and we have to get better at stopping the run,” sophomore linebacker Jordan Ridley said.
Ridley was Butler’s defensive star, leading the team with 15 tackles.
Fellow sophomore Artis Hailey III got nine tackles for the Bulldogs.
The first half of the game was closely matched and Butler had the advantage in time of possession at the break.
Still, the Camels struck first in the game, driving 69 yards to get their first score on a Brown touchdown in the first quarter’s final minute.
The Bulldogs responded in the second quarter with a 35-yard field goal from junior place-kicker David Lang.
However, the Camels countered and put up another 6 points, this time via the arm of Polk. His 9-yard pass to senior tight end Mike Stryffeler put Campbell up by 10 in the second quarter.
The extra point following the touchdown was missed, resulting in a 13-3 game.
Later in the quarter, Butler senior quarterback Matt Kobli took some of the pressure off junior quarterback Andrew Huck, who had struggled up to that point.
Kobli’s 19-yard run into the end zone gave the Bulldogs some life and cut the deficit to 13-10 at halftime.
Although Huck was Butler’s leading rusher, he had a rough day passing.
Huck went 6-for-18 for 56 yards and one interception.
“I just have to throw the ball better,” Huck said. “There are no excuses. I can perform better than this.”
The late touchdown didn’t appear to give Butler much momentum in the second half and they weren’t able to find the end zone for the rest of the game.
The Butler defense spent more than 24 of the game’s final 30 minutes on the field, thanks in part to a fumbled punt and several short drives from the Butler offense.
Eventually, the Camels wore down the tired Bulldog defenders.
“This season is different from last year,” Ridley said. “[Getting off to this start] will show the character of everyone on this team.”
Two more rushing touchdowns in the red zone sealed Butler’s 27-10 fate.
“We’re going to have to evaluate the tape and make some adjustments for next week,” Voris said.
The Bulldogs play at Davidson (1-3, 1-1 PFL) this Saturday.
The Wildcats’ win this season was a 1-point victory at Campbell, but they entered the game off a 42-15 loss to another PFL opponent in Jacksonville.
“Davidson is a similar opponent to Campbell and has multiple offensive looks,” Voris said. “This is a tough travel league and it’s only going to get more challenging.”