Butler holds off No. 4 Iowa Western in 21-19 home win

Butler holds off No. 4 Iowa Western in 21-19 home win

Butler football jumped out to a two-touchdown lead and never trailed on their way to a 21-19 upset victory over No. 4-ranked Iowa Western on Saturday at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.

The Grizzlies (2-1 overall, 1-1 conference) took advantage of four Iowa Western turnovers to win the game, with the first two touchdowns coming on interceptions. Sophomore running back Kevon Abrams scored two touchdowns and had 178 total offensive yards to lead the Grizzly offense.

Butler remains undefeated against Iowa Western on their home field, winning 40-7 in 2015 in addition to Saturday's win.

Butler's first interception came from Jadarius Byrd, setting up a 17-yard screen pass from Chris Helbig to Kevon Abrams that made the score 7-0 with 7:55 left in the first quarter.

Later in the quarter, defensive back Duron Lowe intercepted a pass over the middle, which would eventually lead to a 57-yard pass from Helbig to Kendall Stewart, who got behind the defense after Helbig was flushed from the pocked and caught the pass in stride. The score put Butler up 14-0 with 2:40 left in the quarter.

While Butler owned the first quarter, Iowa Western controlled the second after subbing in quarterback Kai Locksley. Iowa Western went 77 yards in 12 plays, capped by a 2-yard run by Mekhi Sargent to make a 14-7 game.

The Reivers would score on their next drive, going 55 yards in 10 plays, capped by another Sargent run. However, Iowa Western missed the extra point wide right, giving Butler a 14-13 lead.

After struggling offensively in the second quarter, Butler got a big play early in the third quarter when Kevon Abrams burst up the middle for a 54-yard rushing score with 13:12 left in the third quarter.

Butler would not score again in the contest, but turned to its defense, as Iowa Western was forced to punt five straight times and then fumbled.

Iowa Western's only second-half score was set up on a blocked punt, setting up a short field that allowed Sargent to score his third touchdown with 6:19 remaining.

Butler's next drive ate 3:46 off the clock before punting the ball back to Iowa Western with 1:57 left. On the Reivers' first play of the drive, Butler's Troy Dipre intercepted a pass to effectively sealing the game for the Grizzlies.

Abrams finished the contest with 27 carries for 159 yards, with another 19 yards on three receptions. Helbig completed 13-of-24 passes for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Will Honas led Butler with 11 tackles. Jadarius Byrd had four tackles, including two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception.

The Reivers, who came into the game averaging 53.3 points per game and 557.3 yards per game, were held to season-low marks. Butler edged Iowa Western 318-315 in total yardage and dominated the time of possession (36:30 to 23:30).

Butler returns to Jayhawk Conference play next weekend with a 1 p.m. road game at Dodge City.

NOTES: Butler trails in the overall series 4-2, with both wins coming at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. The Grizzlies improved to 5-0 at home against Iowa schools, since the Jayhawk Conference formed a scheduling alliance beginning in 2014... Abrams has now gone over the 100-yard mark eight times in 13 games while at Butler... Sims remains sixth all-time in Butler history with 63 career receptions, just two behind Sean Foster (65, 1986-87).