The Butler football team trailed Western Illinois 23-0 late in the third quarter before the offense showed its first sign of life in the season opener.
Trae Heeter scored on a 5-yard run with 4:00 remaining in the quarter to make the score 23-7. The Bulldogs tried to get an onside kick past the Leathernecks (1-0) but were unable to capitalize.
Defensive back Sean Grady made an important interception that would set up the team’s next score.
On the ensuing drive former quarterback Tom Judge made a circus catch for the Bulldogs (0-1) to get the drive moving. On the next play, red-shirt junior quarterback Matt Lancaster connected on another long screen to Heeter before running the ball into the end zone himself on the next play.
On the 2-point-conversion Butler ran a reverse pass from Judge and cut the deficit to 23-15 with just over 7:00 remaining.
The Bulldogs were able to use their timeouts to get the ball back with 2:00 remaining on their own 1-yard line.
Butler used four complete passes and three first downs to get the ball to the Western Illinois 7-yard line.
The game clock was malfunctioning during the drive and time was being kept by the officials on the field.
Lancaster completed a pass to Heeter who attempted to get out of bounds but was brought down at the 4-yard line. The game clock ran out and the Bulldogs 95-yard drive came up just short.
Butler’s next game will be Saturday, Sept. 8 at 6:00 at the Butler Bowl. The home-opener is against Franklin College.