Grizzlies dominate 3rd-ranked Iowa Central on the road

Grizzlies dominate 3rd-ranked Iowa Central on the road

FORT DODGE, Iowa – Butler football faced a stiff road test on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, but ultimately they imposed their will on the No. 3 team in the nation, clobbering the Iowa Central Tritons 45-10.

The 12th-ranked Grizzlies (4-2, 2-2 KJCCC) rolled up 454 total yards of offense while forcing five Triton (5-2, 1-0 ICCAC) turnovers. It was their first win over a top-five opponent dating back to Nov. 9, 2019, in the last game of the regular season when the Grizzlies defeated No. 3 Garden City 34-27. Butler won its third straight game over Iowa Central and moved to 7-2 all-time vs. the Tritons.

Iowa Central scored first with a field goal midway through the first quarter putting them ahead 3-0. On the Grizzlies next possession, quarterback Tanner Murray found wide receiver Jamarion McDougle in the end zone as McDougle snagged a 24-yard touchdown over a Triton defender for his fourth touchdown this season to put Butler ahead 7-3.

Murray finished 11-of-19 passing through the air for a season-high 251 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 41 yards on six carries. Receiver P.J. Caldwell paced the Grizzly pass catchers with three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Eight different Grizzlies caught a pass. KJ Shankle led the way on the ground with 12 carries for 44 yards. Running back Seth McGowan had three rushing touchdowns, finishing with seven rushes for 29 yards.

Iowa Central opened the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mario Sanders in the back of the end zone, who is top-five in the NJCAA in both receiving yards per game (103.4) and receiving touchdowns (nine). That put the Tritons ahead 10-7.

The middle quarters proved to be big for the Grizzlies as they scored 14 points each in both the second and third quarters, outscoring the Tritons 28-7 in that span. They capped off a long drive with a McGowan one-yard touchdown scamper to go ahead 14-10 with nine minutes left in the second quarter. The Grizzlies held Iowa Central off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game, going on a 31-0 unanswered scoring run.

The score was 21-10 Butler leading at halftime. The first drive of the second half saw Murray find Caldwell for a 29-yard touchdown on a fade route down the left sideline as Butler broke the game open 28-10.

Backed up deep in their own territory on the 10-yard line late in the third quarter with a 35-10 lead, Butler decided to do something extremely risky and fake the punt. It paid off big time as punter Chevy Edwards completed a pass over the middle for 35 yards to defensive back Gabe White.

The defense was big for the Grizzlies, forcing five takeaways and six sacks. Linebacker Demarcious Robinson led the way with 10 tackles with Armahn Hale following right behind with nine of his own. Defensive lineman Marlin Dean had 2.5 tackles for loss (both sacks) including a strip sack that the Grizzlies recovered. Defensive lineman James Smith posted 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, also notching a forced fumble. Defensive back Kaden White had an interception for the second straight game and Patrick Mooney also added his second interception of the season.

Butler returns to El Dorado for a matchup with the second-ranked team in the nation, the Iowa Western Reivers. The game is set for Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. CT from BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.