Saturday, March 02, 2013

But, But . . . Butler?

The final score will show that Dartmouth football pounded Butler in last year's opener, 35-7, so it's easy to forget that in the final minute of the first half it was just 14-7 Big Green – and it could have been/should have been closer.

Before Michael Reilly hauled in a 24-yard pass from Alex Park with 19 seconds to go in the half Dartmouth's offense had accounted for only one touchdown (the other came on an 85-yard return of the opening kickoff by Miles Gay). Butler, meanwhile, had one touchdown, a missed field goal and a drive that ended with a fumble on second down at the Green eight.

Granted, Dartmouth pitched a 14-0 shutout in the second half to win going away, but it is worth noting that Butler had a 416-358 advantage in total yards and 20 first downs to 21 for the Green.

All that is by way of suggesting the Bulldogs may have had a little more bite than the 28-point win suggests. And they could again. The Sports Network has a spring look at the Pioneer Football League that features some interesting notes about the PFL tri-champion Bulldogs. Among them:

  • Two of last year's three champions - Butler (Matt Lancaster) and San Diego (Mason Mills) - return their starting quarterback.
  • The only runner better than (Morehead State's Rees) Macshara last season was Butler's Tra Heeter, who totaled 1,103 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground (and will return in the fall).
  • Butler safety David Burke started to come on strong as a redshirt sophomore and could be a difference maker on the Bulldogs' defense.

On the flip side, the story notes that:
Butler is replacing its leading tackler of the last three seasons, as well as the PFL's leader in two of the last three seasons, middle linebacker Jordan Ridley.
Butler finished 8-3 overall and 7-1 in the PFL last year.

Dartmouth and Butler will play Sept. 21 in Indianapolis.
Yesterday was a pretty good day for Dartmouth athletics. The men's ice hockey team needed a late goal to tie Princeton, but that was enough to clinch home ice for the first round of the ECAC playoffs. ... Men's basketball knocked off Penn by five points. While the Quakers aren't a powerhouse this year, it was only the Big Green's sixth win at the venerable Palestra since the start of formal Ivy League play in 1955-56. ... And the baseball team posted a 10-3 victory over Minnesota and its standout southpaw starter who is projected to possibly be a first- or second-round draft pick. The Big Green lashed out nine hits and scored six runs (five earned) while knocking Tom Windle out after 4 1/3 innings. Cole Sulser got the win by throwing six shutout innings in his return from Tommy John surgery. ... In other action the softball team knocked off George Washington but the women's hockey team lost at Harvard in its playoff opener and the women's basketball team fell to Penn.
Remember the name Ricky Santos? He tortured Dartmouth as the ├╝ber-successful New Hampshire quarterback on his way to winning the Walter Payton Award as the player of the  year in the FCS in 2006. When the Big Green meets the Wildcats in 2014 Santos will be there once again. After five year bouncing around the Canadian Football League he's joined the UNH staff as wide receivers coach. (link)