Three different Butler quarterbacks hit the turf in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 at the Butler Bowl Saturday, but their combined efforts were no match for Marist senior quarterback Tommy Reilly.
Reilly’s 283 passing yards and two touchdowns led the Red Foxes (3-5, 2-3) to a 28-10 win over the Bulldogs (4-4, 2-3).
“We knew they were a good team coming in,” Butler coach Jeff Voris said. “Our guys played with great effort, but Marist played better.”
Despite the final score, it was Butler who came out with a strong start.
Just three plays into the first half, senior defensive back Jack McKenna nabbed an interception at the Red Foxes’ 26-yard line.
The Bulldogs could not come up with a touchdown off the drive, but senior kicker David Lang put Butler on the scoreboard with a 28-yard field goal.
It marked the last time Butler would score in the first half.
“We came out really hyped up, but they outplayed us, and we just didn’t respond,” sophomore cornerback Kevin Cook said.
With 5:38 left in the first quarter, Reilly connected on a 29-yard pass to junior tight end Anthony Calcagni to give Marist a 7-3 advantage.
The second half saw two more touchdowns for the Red Foxes on a 4-yard pass by Reilly and a 1-yard run by senior running back Matt Gray. The scores gave Marist a 21-3 lead going into the locker room.
The Bulldogs were hit with two key injuries at the end of the second quarter as well.
Senior linebacker Nick Caldicott was helped off the field after suffering an injury during a tackle, and senior quarterback Andrew Huck suffered a shoulder injury on the last play of the half.
Play was much closer in the second half, with Butler holding Marist to one touchdown and scoring one as well.
“We weren’t going to bend over and let this happen,” Cook said. “There was a lot of good leadership showing at halftime.”
Things began to look bleak for the Bulldogs when the Red Foxes scored another touchdown, stretching their lead to 28-3.
Butler made the game respectable by scoring the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, closing the deficit to 28-10.
Butler freshman quarterback Wade Markley recorded his first collegiate touchdown pass with a 29-yard toss to senior wide receiver Jeff Larsen.
“Those guys were put in a really tough situation,” Voris said. “I thought they did well for the situation they were in.”
Markley completed five of his six pass attempts for 83 yards in relief of Huck and redshirt sophomore Tom Judge.
Reilly was the star of the game though. He completed 21 of 24 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Marist held a 38:58–21:02 advantage in time of possession by the end of the game and outgained Butler 431-284.
Senior defensive back Andy Dauch led the team in tackles with a career-high 14 stops.
“[Dauch] is a good football player,” Voris said. “He does his job, and he’s an outstanding leader in the locker room.”
Junior linebacker Jordan Ridley tallied 12 tackles for the Bulldogs. He is currently leading the Pioneer Football League in tackles.
After an off-day this Saturday, the Bulldogs will be back in the Butler Bowl against Davidson Saturday, Nov. 5 at noon.