Football tames Wildcats for first PFL win

Butler football looks to capture its second conference win this Saturday when they host Pioneer Football League rival Dayton at 1 p.m.

The Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2 PFL) will be riding the momentum of their first conference win, which they picked up at Davidson (1-4, 1-2 PFL) last Saturday.

Junior quarterback Andrew Huck said the team feels good moving forward after capturing a pivotal win on the road.

“[Getting the win] was very refreshing,” Huck said. “We hit a turning point in our season, and we could have reacted two different ways.

“We reacted positively and got a ‘W.’”

Junior quarterback Matt Kobli was instrumental in Butler’s 24-8 victory, rushing for two touchdowns and 68 yards on 10 attempts.

Huck, who shared playing time with Kobli at Davidson, said Kobli’s athleticism and running ability were keys to making the offense effective.

“Matt Kobli is one of our best athletes,” Huck said. “We try to get him on the field and involved in the offense as much as possible.

“He’s a big, strong, powerful guy, so we were able to utilize him around the goal line, which forced the [Davidson] defense to play up for the run and opened up our passing game.”

Huck had a steady performance also, completing 14 of 20 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.

Junior wide receiver Jordan Koopman also had a strong day, catching seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown from Huck.

The Butler offense amassed a balanced 375 yards on 205 rushing yards and 170 passing yards.

They turned the ball over just once against the Wildcats after handing it over a total of four times in the past two weeks.

But it was the defense that ultimately proved the difference in Butler’s 16-point victory.

Both offenses moved the football well in the first quarter but were eventually denied by the respective defenses, which refused to buckle.

After an interception by junior cornerback Jack McKenna, the Bulldog offensive capped a 10-play drive with a 1-yard  touchdown run by Kobli.

The Butler defense forced a punt on the next drive and the Bulldogs tacked on a field goal with just seconds remaining in the first half to take a 10-0 lead into the locker room.

On its first possession of the second half, Butler picked up where it left off when Huck connected with Koopman for a 4-yard touchdown to culminate a 58-yard, nine-play drive.

The Butler defense refused to rest on their laurels, forcing the Wildcats to punt three times in Davidson’s subsequent possessions.

With the game out of reach for Davidson late in the game, Kobli punctuated his afternoon with a 21-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 24-0 lead.

Davidson finally got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter when freshman quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff delivered a 24-yard touchdown strike to sophomore wide receiver Lanny Funsten.

The Butler defense surrendered just 185 yards to the Davidson offense, 72 of which came from the Wildcats’ final drive.

Davidson junior fullback Chase Culbertson said that while the Bulldogs played well, it was a frustrating day for his team’s offense.

“Our offense shot [itself] in the foot a lot when we had opportunities to score,” Culbertson said. “We didn’t capitalize. Butler played a great game, but we only have ourselves to blame for the loss.”

“We should have come out more physical and gotten the little things done.”

The win snapped Butler’s two-game losing streak during which the Bulldog offense scored just 10 points.

As for this Saturday’s game, Huck said he expects to get Dayton’s (5-1, 3-0 PFL) best shot since the Bulldogs dramatically defeated the Flyers on the road last season.

“Last year, we beat [Dayton] after their last-second Hail Mary attempt came up short,” he said. “So we know they’ll be bringing a lot of energy [into Saturday], which we’ll need to match.”

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