Luka Zurak and the Bulldogs celebrate the win after his dramatic 56-yard field goal. Photo courtesy of Claire Runkel/Butler Athletics.
NICK ORR | SPORTS REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Butler football knocked off San Diego 26-23 with a fourth-quarter comeback to improve to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in PFL play. The Bulldogs’ offense exploded for 427 total yards of offense, while the defense held the Toreros to just under 300 yards.
The Bulldogs erased a ten point deficit in the fourth quarter. The win marks just the sixth time the Bulldogs have defeated San Diego in program history and the first since 2009.
To start the scoring in the first quarter, San Diego executed an 11-play, 76-yard drive. It ended in a 13-yard touchdown from quarterback Judd Erickson to receiver Ja’seem Reed to give the Toreros a 7-0 lead.
Butler would respond with a 33-yard field goal from redshirt senior kicker Luka Zurak to cut the lead to 7-3.
At the end of the first quarter, San Diego scored on a five-yard pass from Erickson to Michael Carner to extend the Toreros’ lead to 14-3. The score capped off a five-play, 84-yard drive that took just over two minutes.
On the first drive of the second quarter, Zurak knocked through a 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-6 and bring it back to one possession.
San Diego would respond with their third scoring drive of the first half. Judd threw his third passing touchdown of the game, this one to Vance Jefferson. San Diego was not able to convert on the extra-point attempt and the lead was 20-6.
The Bulldogs put together their first touchdown drive of the game on the next drive. Kwesi Kyei-Fordjour ran in a five-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 20-13. The score capped off a long 11-play, 75-yard drive.
With no scoring in the third quarter, San Diego found the endzone in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Kicker Aiden Lehman knocked through a 23-yard field goal to further stretch the Toreros lead to 23-13.
Butler would crawl back into the game in the fourth quarter, starting with Zurak’s third field goal of the game. His 44-yard kick would cut the lead to 23-16. The Bulldogs’ defense would hold strong and force San Diego to give the ball back.
With just over two minutes left, redshirt junior quarterback Bret Bushka led the Bulldogs’ offense on a nine-play, 71-yard drive. The drive ended with redshirt freshman receiver Luke Wooten hauling in a 21-yard touchdown reception and evening the score at 23-23. Wooten finished with 14 receptions and 147 receiving yards, both of which led Butler.
Butler’s defense forced a three-and-out on San Diego’s next offensive drive, which led to the Bulldogs getting the final possession. After seven plays and 21 yards gained, Butler had to try a long field goal. As time expired, Zurak knocked through a 56-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs the 26-23 victory.
Butler moves to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in PFL play and will look to continue their winning ways as they travel to face the Drake Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. ET.