Butler huddles up at the Sellick Bowl. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 4-7 record. Jimmy Lafakis/Collegian file photo.
JAROD LIPSON | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler University football team lost a tight one to Davidson, 41-38, in their last game of the season on Nov. 17.
Every drive in the game except for one ended in a score, with all of Davidson’s scores being touchdowns.
Butler’s first drive resulted in a field goal, which was followed by a touchdown from each team, Butler’s coming on a 7-yard run by redshirt senior running back Anthony Scaccia.
Another Davidson touchdown and another Butler field goal tied the game at 13.
After senior receiver Pace Temple’s 3-yard touchdown catch was sandwiched by two more Davidson touchdowns, Butler trailed 27-20 at halftime.
Butler struggled defending the run in the first half and wasn’t able to fix it. Davidson rushed for 408 yards in the game and scored their 41 points with only three completions.
The Wildcats took a 14-point lead early in the second half, but Butler answered quickly.
A double reverse was snapped directly to redshirt junior running back Brad Sznajder, who pitched it to Scaccia, who pitched it to quarterback Will Marty, who found Sznajder open for a 25-yard touchdown reception.
Butler couldn’t capitalize on the stop, settling for a field goal on the ensuing drive.
“It came down to that we kicked too many field goals,” head coach Jeff Voris said. “They kicked more extra points than we did and we’re kicking field goals.”
After another Davidson touchdown, Butler trailed by 11 with under eight minutes to play.
Two receptions of over 10 yards by junior receiver Stephen Dennis on third down kept the Bulldogs’ next drive alive.
Temple’s 14-yard catch was followed by his 9-yard touchdown reception, which, combined with Sam Yeaton’s two-point conversion, brought Butler to within three with under four minutes to go.
Temple finished the game with 169 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Senior punter Evan Giebel kicked and recovered an onside kick, which set Butler up near midfield.
“It’s back and forth and both teams are trying to keep pace at that point, you know, the real swing became the score before the half and the score to open the second half, which gave them the cushion,” Voris said. “Then, we got back into it with a turnover and the onside kick.”
A third and long at Davidson’s 30-yard line made way for Temple’s 28-yard catch through heavy traffic that he took all the way to the two.
Marty ran it himself on the next two plays, fumbling on the latter. Butler recovered it but he was injured on the play and did not return.
“Every one of those guys that went out at a certain point wanted to be out there,” Voris said. “I mean, you’re crushed, you know, when you can’t physically go. But yeah, great confidence in [freshman quarterback] Sam [Brown] to come in and do the job.”
Scaccia ran for a one-yard loss, which left Voris with a decision.
Kick the field goal and send it to overtime or go for the touchdown and the win.
Voris chose the latter.
Sznajder was stopped one inch from the goal line as the clock expired, Davidson’s entire bench stormed the field and crowded the line of scrimmage, and Butler walked off in defeat.
For the team’s 22 seniors, it was for the final time.
“You put so much time and effort into building the team and all the time you spend together working and this team has been extremely close and has had great leadership,” Voris said. “This has been as tight a group and as close a locker room as we’ve had and so it’s hard to say goodbye and you don’t get to play next week.”
The loss brings Butler’s final record to 4-7 overall and 2-6 in conference.