The Butler football team not only defeated Iowa Western for the first time in program history, but did so in convincing fashion by forcing five turnovers and routing the No. 13 Reivers by a 40-7 score in the home opener at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
The 10th-ranked Grizzlies led 26-0 at the half, returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown and were never threatened by a team they hadn't beaten in three previous tries.
The Grizzlies (2-0) wasted little time taking control of the contest. Iowa Western (0-2) got the ball first but was forced to punt after three plays. Butler took over at its own 28 and marched 72 yards in 12 plays, capping the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Colton Howell to Michael Gallup to make it a 7-0 game.
Iowa Western fumbled on its next drive, but the Grizzlies couldn't take advantage. Butler did, however, get a 26-yard field goal from Lane Brewer later in the first quarter that made it a 10-0 game.
In the second quarter, Iowa Western put together a drive to move deep inside Butler territory, but Octavious Morgan made an interception in the end zone and returned the ball 34 yards.
The Grizzlies turned the interception into three points with a 31-yard field goal by Brewer, which put Butler up 13-0 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
Iowa Western's next play from scrimmage was a pass that was intercepted again by Morgan. The redshirt freshman caught an errant pass in the flat and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was missed, but Butler led 19-0 with 7:14 left in the second quarter.
Morgan would have one more interception before halftime, giving him three in the game with 82 yards in return yardage.
The Grizzlies put one more touchdown on the board in the second quarter as Kobe McCrary pounded into the end zone on a 4-yard run that made it 26-0 with 1:01 left in the half.
Iowa Western would drive the field in the closing moments of the half, but threw an incomplete pass in the end zone as the clock expired.
Butler was scheduled to get the ball to start the second half, but the offense wasn't needed. Michael Gallup took the kickoff and returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown that put Butler up 33-0 just 16 seconds into the third quarter.
Iowa Western's only score of the game was a 17-yard pass from Brock Larsen to Taj Williams with 7:08 left in the third quarter.
Butler added one more touchdown, coming on a 3-yard run by Kobe McCrary with 2:03 left in the game.
Butler has now outscored its two opponents this season by a combine score of 87-19, including 53-0 in the first half.
Iowa Western actually outgained Butler in total yardage (319-273), but the Reivers were hurt by 97 yards in penalties and five turnovers – three interceptions and two fumbles.
Butler played three quarterbacks in the game, with two attempting passes. Colton Howell started and was 5-of-5 passing for 58 yards and a touchdown, while Justice Hansen made his Butler debut and was 7-of-16 passing for 61 yards. He also ran six times for 50 yards.
Kobe McCrary had 21 carries for 70 yards with two touchdowns, giving him five touchdowns on the season. Michael Gallup had five catches for 32 yards and a receiving touchdown, while Julian Burris had three catches for 57 yards.
Tony Jones led the defense with six tackles, including a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Butler is now 1-3 against Iowa Western. Butler avenges a 36-30 loss in overtime at Iowa Western last year as well as two losses in the Graphic Edge Bowl in 2012 and 2013.
The loss is the worst in program history for Iowa Western. The Reivers' previous worst loss was a 34-14 loss to Ellsworth in 2010.
Butler is now 2-0 on the season and will play at undefeated #4 Hutchinson next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Iowa Western (0-2) will host Highland next weekend.