No. 16 Butler uses running attack to beat Air Force Prep, 31-15

No. 16 Butler uses running attack to beat Air Force Prep, 31-15

Butler football had a season-best 324 yards rushing and scored 31 straight points in Saturday's 31-15 non-conference home victory over Air Force Prep at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.

Following an opening touchdown drive by Air Force Prep to open the game, the 16th-ranked Grizzlies (5-2 overall, 4-1 conference) scored 17 first-half points, then added a rushing touchdown and a 40-yard interception return for a score in the fourth quarter.

Grizzly running back Makiya Caesar had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, gaining exactly 100 yards on the ground in just eight carries. Caesar's 69-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter put Butler in front 10-7 with 10:48 remaining in the second quarter.

After a turnover on downs by the Huskies at the Grizzly 34-yard line, Butler padded its lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Trae Self to Larry Jones with 3:10 before halftime. Vinnie Shabazz opened the eight-play drive with a 30-yard run. Two plays later, Ja'kevious Vickers rushed for 15 yards to move the ball to the Air Force Prep 24-yard line.

Self hit Kaden Davis for a 10-yard pass on a 3rd-and-5, then three plays later, Self completed the scoring pass to a diving Jones just inside the end zone sideline for a 17-7 Butler lead.

Butler would not score again until the fourth quarter shortly after Jacoby Jones recovered an Air Force Prep fumble at the Huskies' 24-yard line. Darius Timmons ran the ball down to the AFP 3-yard line on a 20-yard run, then scored from one yard out with 9:09 to play.

The Grizzlies' final score came on a 40-yard interception return by D'Anthony Bell on the next Air Force Prep drive. Bell picked off the pass on the right side of the field, cut back towards the middle of the field and dove for the pylon on the near sideline while avoiding a tackle.

Air Force Prep would get a touchdown on its final drive of the contest as Qawi Ntsasa scored from 17 yards out with 5:24 remaining. The Huskies would get a two-point conversion as Ben Jefferson connected with Chris Kane.

Along with Caesar's 100-yard game, Vickers had 71 yards rushing on 12 carries, while Timmons and Self rushed for 48 and 40 yards, respectively.

Self completed 11-of-18 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Darren Wilson led the Grizzlies with 52 receiving yards on three catches. Jones had a team-high five receptions for 43 yards.

Defensively, linebacker Juwan Mitchell finished with eight tackles and four solos to lead Butler. Up front, defensive lineman Jacoby Jones and Jordan Smith each had six tackles. Jones had five solos, two tackles for losses and a sack to go along with his fourth-quarter fumble recovery, while Smith had four solos and two tackles for losses. Linebacker Amare Barno added two sacks.

Butler returns to conference action next Saturday with a 7:00 p.m. road game against Fort Scott. The Grizzlies then will return home for a non-conference contest against Ellsworth (Iowa) at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 27.

NOTES: Butler improves to 25-2-0 overall against Air Force Prep. The Grizzlies have now won 12 straight games over the Huskies and is just one win away from matching the longest winning streak in the series.... Butler has never lost to Air Force Prep at home and has now won 16 straight games in El Dorado against the Huskies... The 324 yards rushing is the most by the Grizzlies under head coach Tim Schaffner. Butler has rushed for 300 yards or more in a game four times in the Schaffner era.