October 15, 2011

No. 5 Butler crushes No. 12 Coffeyville, 41-3

EL DORADO, Kan. – The Butler Grizzlies, ranked fifth nationally, rolled past No. 12 Coffeyville by a 41-3 score on Saturday at Galen Blackmore Stadium, their 21st consecutive victory over the Red Ravens dating back to 1998.

"It was a great opponent, a tough team to play against," Butler coach Troy Morrell said. "I was proud of the way the guys prepared and focused all week. This was a great atmosphere, a lot of fun and a great win."

The Grizzlies got going early, taking the opening kickoff and marching 75 yards on 10 plays, capping the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Whitmer to Kendall Wrenn to take a 7-0 lead.

Coffeyville threatened that lead later in the first quarter after it blocked a punt and the Red Ravens recovered the ball at Butler's 21-yard line. The Butler defense, which hasn't allowed a touchdown in the past six games, held the Ravens on three straight plays. Coffeyville settled for a field goal on fourth down to make the score 7-3.

Butler would get two field goals of its own in the second quarter by kicker Connor Frazell, one from 32 yards out and another from 43 yards out, which is the collegiate-long for Frazell.

Those field goals, sandwiched around a quick-strike 56-yard touchdown pass from Whitmer to Wrenn midway through the second quarter, put Butler in front 20-3 at the half.

Butler continued to pile up points in the second half, scoring three more touchdowns. Whitmer ran for a touchdown on a quarterback scramble from 11 yards out, followed by a 10-yard run by Dreamius Smith.

The final score was another 15-yard touchdown pass from Whitmer to Wrenn. Whitmer finished the day completing 24 of 33 passes for a season-high 379 yards and three touchdowns. Wrenn caught all three touchdown passes and had nine catches for 184 yards just a week after catching nine passes for 111 yards at Independence. Whitmer also ran six times for a team-best 53 yards.

"The passing game was what we had to do tonight," Morrell said. "Coffeyville does a good job of taking away the run and forcing you to throw the ball. Our guys were patient and took what we were given. Chandler is getting more and more comfortable and was on the same page with the receivers. I was also proud of our offensive line and the protection they gave, not giving up a sack."

Meanwhile, the Butler defense ran its streak to 24 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown, holding Coffeyville to just 214 yards of total offense.

"You can't say enough about them," Morrell said of the defense. "They got tested tonight against a pro-style offense and there is no question that they stood up to that challenge tonight in fine fashion."

With the win, Butler has now won seven straight and are still undefeated in Jayhawk Conference play at 5-0. The Grizzlies will travel next Saturday to face No. 9 Hutchinson, which is 6-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference play. Butler will be playing for its second straight conference title and 12th title in the past 14 years.

"It's going to be exciting," Morrell said. "It's going to be a fun game and a packed house. A conference title is on the line. It's why you come to Butler and what you play for."