No. 5 Butler crushes Air Force Prep, 53-7

No. 5 Butler crushes Air Force Prep, 53-7

The Butler football team, ranked No. 5 nationally, fell behind early against Air Force Prep on Saturday at Galen Blackmore Stadium but would dominate the rest of the contest on their way to a convincing 53-7 win over the Huskies.

"I felt like we played well in all three phases," coach Troy Morrell said. "The defense set the tempo and the offense took a while to get going but when they did, they rolled strong and our special teams set everything up with great field position.

"We wanted to come out and play at our tempo with the kind of enthusiasm and energy that we know we can. I was proud of the way we did that tonight," Morrell said.

Air Force's early score came on a 60-yard fumble recovery and return by Jarius Holloman just three minutes into the game, putting the Prep ahead 7-0.

Butler's offense would punt, fumble and punt on its first three possessions, but both two punts were downed inside the Air Force Prep 1-yard line. The second time that happened, Butler linebacker Jeff Page made a tackle in the end zone for a safety, making the score 7-2.

The Grizzlies then got going offensively late in the first quarter, scoring on a 4-yard run by Dreamius Smith to go ahead 9-7.

Butler then scored three touchdowns in the second quarter – a 1-yard run by Scott Lester, a 15-yard run by Jasper Sanders and a 4-yard run by Derrick Thomas – to lead 29-7 at intermission.

The Grizzlies' offense showed no signs of letting up in the second half. Butler scored quickly in the third quarter on a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chandler Whitmer to receiver Chris Fields. Later in the third quarter, Whitmer scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper and Butler led 43-7.

In the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies would get a 37-yard field goal by Connor Frazell and a 46-yard touchdown run by Terrance Allen that capped the scoring.

The Grizzlies would tally 453 yards of total offense, including 197 yards of passing by Whitmer, who completed nine of 15 passes attempted. The leading rusher was Derrick Thomas, who had 91 yards on 21 carries.

Meanwhile, the stingy Butler defense allowed only 105 yards of total offense to Air Force Prep – including just eight yards of rushing. For the second straight game, the Butler defense held its opponent out of the end zone, running their scoreless streak to eight straight quarters. Jeff Page led Butler with 11 tackles and a quarterback sack to go along with the safety he recorded in the first quarter.

Butler has now won three straight games after a season-opening overtime loss on the road at No. 1-ranked Navarro (Texas). The Grizzlies have outscored those three opponents by a combined score of 185-19, or an average score of 62-6.

The Grizzlies, 3-1 overall and 2-0 in Jayhawk Conference play, return to conference action next weekend with a road game at Dodge City. The Conquistadors are coming off a 28-7 road win at Independence on Saturday.