Football team routs rival Valpo to keep postseason hopes alive

The Butler football team still has the postseason in its sights after a 72-12 rout of rival Valparaiso in the Hoosier Helmet Game on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (8-3, 6-1 PFL) won their second consecutive game to remain in a three-way tie atop the Pioneer Football League standings with San Diego and Marist.

The Bulldogs broke a school record with 717 yards of total offense. They also broke the school’s modern-era record for points scored.

San Diego and Marist also won on Saturday, leaving the season’s outcome down to next Saturday.

With a win over Morehead State, the Bulldogs can win at least a share of the league title, but with an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs going to the PFL champion, even more is at stake on Saturday.

In order to clinch a postseason berth, they would need San Diego to lose to Drake, as the Toreros hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over both Butler and Marist. They also need Marist to lose to Mercer because the Red Foxes would edge out the Bulldogs in the second tiebreaker (margin of loss against San Diego).

On Saturday, the Bulldogs looked to be in for a tough Senior Day contest as Valparaiso took an early 6-0 lead. But Butler scored 38 unanswered points to take a 38-6 lead into halftime.

Valparaiso scored right out of the gates in the second half, but the Bulldogs 34 more unanswered points.

Senior quarterback Matt Lancaster closed out his home career with 317 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also added 30 yards on the ground.

Senior running back Trae Heeter led the ground attack with 115 yards and a touchdown. Junior backup Rico Watson racked up 71 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with an apparent ankle injury.

Senior wide receiver Brendan Shannon caught three of Lancaster’s touchdowns and Heeter had the other, an 84-yard play to close out the first half.

The Bulldogs will travel to Kentucky over the weekend to face the Eagles. The Bulldogs had a comeback Homecoming win over Morehead State last year. Trailing 35-17 in the fourth quarter, Butler rattled off 22 straight points to stay in contention for the PFL title.

The Eagles feature an entirely new coaching staff this year and sit at 3-7 overall and 3-4 in PFL play.

Kickoff for the Bulldogs is at 1 p.m. Marist also kicks off at 1:00 and San Diego plays at 4:00.