Football team routs Morehead State, awaits postseason fate

For the Butler football team, it’s time to wait.

The Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the Pioneer Football League championship with a 58-27 win at Morehead State Saturday to wrap up the regular season.

This comes after San Diego announced Thursday that it would be withdrawing from PFL title contention as well as any consideration for the Division I Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. The university found improper benefits were being awarded to players.

The Toreros would have clinched the PFL title and the automatic bid to the playoffs with a win Saturday, but with the Toreros out of contention, that leaves Butler in a two-way tie with Marist.

The Bulldogs finished 9-3 and 7-1 in the PFL, and with a win Saturday the Red Foxes wrapped up their regular season at 8-3 and 7-1 in conference play.

With San Diego’s announcement, the PFL released a new tiebreaking procedure. With Butler and Marist finishing as the only two team tied at the end of the season, the first tiebreaker was head-to-head competition, but they did not face each other this year. Against common PFL opponents, both teams are 5-1, leaving the final tiebreaker down to a ratings system.

There will be seven different polls, which are all utilized by the Gridiron Power Index (similar to RPI in Division I basketball) to determine the PFL champion and automatic qualifier. The two teams’ rankings from each poll will be averaged and the higher ranked team will become the PFL’s first-ever automatic qualifier.

As for Saturday’s game at Morehead State, the Bulldogs put the hammer down early and got out to a 34-7 halftime lead. The Eagles scored two touchdowns out of the gates in the second half, but the Bulldogs were able to close out the game, carried by senior running back Trae Heeter.

Heeter racked up five total touchdowns, four rushing and one receiving. Heeter totaled 180 rushing yards and 139 receiving yards.

Senior quarterback Matt Lancaster had a big day himself, throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns, also picking up 118 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The duo combined for 604 of the team’s 639 total yards.

The Bulldogs will now wait to see if they’ll receive the automatic bid. There are three PFL games next Saturday, which could all affect both Butler’s and Marist’s ratings. Merecer, who was in the mix for the automatic bid before losing to Marist, hosts Stetson on Saturday (a team that Butler beat, but Marist didn’t play).

Morehead State (again, a win for the Bulldogs, but a team the Red Foxes didn’t play) hosts Charlotte, while Davidson hosts Campbell (wins for both Butler and Marist).

The FCS Playoff field will be announced Sunday, Nov. 24, and the playoffs begin on Saturday, Nov. 30.

The last postseason appearance for the Bulldogs was a 28-23 win over Central Connecticut State in the Gridiron Classic, an event between the PFL and Northeastern Conference which has since been discontinued.

An automatic bid for the Bulldogs would mean history, as they have never played a playoff game since the FCS, formerly known as Division I-AA.


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