MATTHEW VANTRYON | SPORTS EDITOR
Butler’s homecoming festivities were cut short Saturday afternoon, as Jacksonville handed the Bulldogs a 35-7 loss in their Pioneer Football League opener.
Missed opportunities in the red zone killed Butler. Despite getting 24 first downs in the game to the Dolphins’ 23, Butler (2-2, 0-1) was 0-3 in the red zone including a lost fumble.
Butler was 6-17 on third-down opportunities.
Quarterback Matt Shiltz did his part to lead Butler. Shiltz was 24-44 with 296 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Butler missed two field goals in the first half. Meanwhile, Jacksonville was 2-2 in the red zone in the half and built up a 21-0 lead going into halftime.
Jacksonville quarterback Kade Bell finished the game 25-40 with 401 yards and five touchdowns.
Butler got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, as Shiltz connected with Marquis Martin-Hayes for a 42-yard score.
Martin-Hayes led the Bulldogs with seven receptions for 119 yards and a score.
The Bulldogs showed fight in the waning minutes, forcing turnovers on consecutive defensive possessions. However, the offense failed to produce.
Butler will hit the road next Saturday to face Stetson University. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.