KYLE BEERY | STAFF REPORTER
The Hoosier Helmet Trophy is at stake this Saturday as the Butler football team heads north for a showdown with rival Valparaiso University.
The Hoosier Helmet has called Indianapolis home for the last six seasons. The Bulldogs stomped the Crusaders 72-12 at the Butler Bowl last season, and have outscored their rivals 289-76 during the six-game winning streak.
But, Butler head coach Jeff Voris said the Crusaders have improved this year. He said the Crusaders are a well-coached, well-prepared team, much improved from the Valparaiso of the past.
“It’s a whole new group up there,” Voris said. “They’re by far the best Valpo team we’ve played since I’ve been here.”
Being a road rivalry game, Voris said you can never know what to expect.
“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us, there’s no doubt about that,” Voris said. “You can throw the records out. What we did last week or last year has nothing to do with this year. This is a game that both teams mark on the calendar, and there’s a trophy as a prize.”
The Bulldogs (4-5, 2-4) are poised for another high-scoring affair with the Crusaders (2-7, 0-5), as they are coming off a 62-52 win over PFL foe Morehead State University in Indianapolis last Saturday.
Quarterback Malcolm Weaver threw for 119 yards and a touchdown, completing 14-of-25 attempts against the Eagles.
But it was running back Sam Schrader who stole the show with 162 yards rushing on 13 carries for four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs used an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Derek O’Connor and a 25-yard pick-six by David Burke to gain the edge in Saturday’s game.
Playing well in all three phases of the game will again be key in Valparaiso, Voris said.
“When you score in all three phases, you’re going to rack up some points,” Voris said.
The Crusaders suffered their third straight loss Saturday, falling to the University of Dayton on the road 42-19. Valparaiso outgained Dayton 433-366, but had four turnovers, including three interceptions by quarterback Ben Lehman.
Valparaiso failed to tie the game at 14 in the third quarter on a two-point conversion, and it was all Dayton from there, as the Dayton Flyers outscored the Crusaders 28-7 the rest of the way.
Saturday will be Butler’s last road game before returning home Nov. 15 to close the season against Dayton. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. Saturday.