Taylor Scores First-Ever Win over NCAA D-I FCS Butler
INDIANAPOLIS – Taylor registered its first win of the 2019 campaign in style on Saturday night at the Sellick Bowl, upending Butler by a 17-14 margin for its first win on the gridiron against the Bulldogs.
The Trojans controlled the game in the trenches against the NCAA Division I FCS foe, rushing the ball 48 times in the contest and piling up 257 yards on the ground, while limiting Butler (1-2) to just 71 rushing yards and 261 total yards of offense on the night.
By winning the line of scrimmage, TU held a sizeable 35:03 to 24:47 gap in time of possession and also was able to move the chains by converting on nine-of-14 third-down tries in the contest.
The Trojans jumped to a 14-0 lead with touchdowns on their first and third possessions of the game and got the only second-half points they needed via a third-quarter field goal to hold off the Bulldogs.
Grant Gerig started the contest by returning the opening kickoff 31 yards and a Butler penalty on the play gave TU the ball at the 47-yard line to start the night. Connections of 13 and 14 yards from Zac Saltzgaber to Evan Guckenberger fueled the first drive and a five-yard run from Spencer Crisp into the end zone gave TU the fast 7-0 edge.
After a defensive stop gave the ball right back, Taylor marched 80 yards on 12 plays en route to the 14-0 lead. The extended drive featured eight running plays but ended on an eight-yard touchdown catch from Trey Burdine.
Butler managed to find the end zone late in the second to narrow the margin but could not do any damage on its opening touch of the third quarter and Taylor countered with a 17-play drive that spanned 91 yards and chewed 9:35 off the clock. TU came away with three critical points, with Garrett Russell’s 22-yard field goal opening a 17-7 lead with 1:55 to play in the third.
BU drew to within 17-14 on a score with 7:53 remaining but would get just one more possession in the game, as Taylor continued to drain the clock and used a 10-play march to run out the final 4:20 and secure the historic 17-14 victory.
Drew LeFever had a career night with 14 carries for 109 yards, followed by 13 carries for 93 yards from quarterback Saltzgaber and 17 rushes for 67 yards and one touchdown from Crisp.
Saltzgaber also completed 10 passes in the contest, including a touchdown completion to Burdine. Russell accounted for the remainder of the Trojan points, converting on both point-after attempts and drilling a 22-yard field goal that served as the eventual game-winner.
Jackson Bronkema posted a team-high seven tackles, with Major Dailey, Jordan Jackson and Mark Baker all recording six stops. TJ Swore, Tyler Hasbrook and Trevor Garbo all played a role in TU’s two sacks.
Taylor (1-1) will open its six-game home schedule on September 21, when it welcomes Missouri Baptist (0-3) into Turner Stadium for a 1:00 pm start.