No. 4 Butler falls 36-28 in regular season finale at Ellsworth

No. 4 Butler falls 36-28 in regular season finale at Ellsworth

IOWA FALLS, Iowa - The Butler football team had its regular season end with a rare road loss as Ellsworth held Butler at bay in a 36-28 contest Saturday at Cadet Field.

With the loss, the Grizzlies end the regular season with a 9-2 record under first-year head coach Tim Schaffner. Butler will await word of a possible bowl bid, which will be announced on November 16. Ellsworth finishes the regular season at 6-5, but has won five straight games. The Panthers will likely play in the Graphic Edge Bowl next month.

For Butler, it is just the second road loss in the past two seasons, the first since falling 36-30 in overtime at Iowa Western in September 2014.

Butler never led in the contest at Ellsworth on Saturday, although the teams were tied 14-14 after a high-scoring first quarter.

Ellsworth took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for a touchdown on its first drive, a 1-yard run by Xavier Washpun. Jerry Jones ran in the 2-point conversion to make it an 8-0 lead.

Butler answered with a touchdown of its own on its first drive, getting a 19-yard scoring pass from Justice Hansen to Byron Pringle. Lane Brewer kicked the extra point to make it an 8-7 game.

Both teams would also score on their second possessions. Ellsworth got a 80-yard touchdown reception by Jerry Jones, but missed the two-point conversion.

Butler scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper by Justice Hansen that was set up by a 53-yard screen pass to Ra'Keim Abdul. Another Brewer extra point to tie the game 14-14 with 1:08 left in the first quarter.

Ellsworth took the lead back on another long touchdown pass to Jerry Jones, this one from 40 yards out. A run by quarterback Jujuan Young-Battle added two points and Ellsworth let 22-14.

Butler would take advantage of an Ellsworth fumble late in the first half, getting another touchdown pass from Justice Hansen to Byron Pringle, making the score 22-21 at the break.

Ellsworth would score two touchdowns in the second half, one on a run by Xavier Washpun and the other on a third TD pass from Young-Battle to Jerry Jones to push the lead to 36-21.

The Butler offense, which had struggled throughout the second half, found some life late, getting a 28-yard TD from Hansen to Pringle with 2:52 to play.

Ellsworth nearly ran out the clock before being stopped on 4th down in Butler territory. The Grizzlies had one last try, needing to go 81 yards with just five seconds left on the clock, but the final desperation pass was intercepted.