KYLE BEERY | ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
The Butler football team kept its postseason hopes alive with a 33-30 come-from-behind win on the road at Dayton Saturday.
The Bulldogs (7-3, 5-1 PFL) trailed 27-6 in the first half before putting up 24 unanswered points. Butler took the lead 30-27 early in the fourth quarter. Dayton (6-3, 4-2) tied it at 30 with 8:12 left in the game.
Butler answered that field goal with a 4:43 47-yard drive resulting in a 33-yard field goal from sophomore John Treloar.
On the ensuing possession, Butler forced a fumble and then stopped Dayton on the next drive.
Senior quarterback Matt Lancaster led the way for the Bulldogs with 232 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also added 116 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Senior linebacker Paul Yanow anchored the Bulldogs’ defense with nine tackles, seven of them in the second half. Also making a key play on defense was junior Christian Eble, with a sack and a forced fumble late in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
“We played timid in the first half, and just let it loose in the second half, and it showed,” Yanow said.
Butler now sits atop the PFL standings locked in a three-way tie with San Diego and Marist.
San Diego holds the tiebreaker over Butler after beating the Bulldogs 42-14 on Oct. 26. Butler holds the tiebreaker over Marist, based on overall record.
Butler has two games left. They face rival Valparaiso (1-8, 1-5) on Saturday for the final home game of the year. They then travel to Morehead State (3-6, 3-3) on Oct. 16.
As the PFL champion now receives an automatic bid to the Division I FCS playoffs, a lot is at stake over the next two weeks. Butler needs to win both games and have San Diego lose at least one.
The Toreros travel to Morehead State this weekend followed by a home game against Drake (5-4, 4-2) on Oct. 16.
The Bulldogs’ last postseason appearance was in 2009 after winning the PFL. They beat Central Connecticut State 28-23 in the Gridiron Classic. The classic was a game held between the PFL and Northeast Conference champions from 2006-2009, but has since been discontinued.
But this time there is much more at stake. The PFL champion will have an opportunity to advance in the playoffs and make a run at the FCS National Championship.
The next step before that, though, is Saturday, which is senior day for the Bulldogs, with kickoff at 1 p.m in the Butler Bowl.
Yanow said Saturday will be a very emotional day.
“It will be the last time I put on the blue jersey,” Yanow said. “I think it will be a little better knowing we have one game left, but there will be a lot of emotions running around on that day.”