Grizzly quarterback Trae Self threw for a season-high 280 passing yards and four touchdowns as No. 13 Butler routed Ellsworth (Iowa) 42-6 on Saturday afternoon at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
Butler (7-2 overall, 5-1 conference) recovered from a fourth-down fumble on its opening drive, as the Grizzlies quickly gained possession back on a D'Anthony Bell interception at the Butler 33-yard line. An Ellsworth facemask penalty moved the ball across midfield, then a Ja'kevious Vickers 4-yard run on 3rd-and-1 from the Panther 26 gave the Grizzlies a first down.
On the next play, Self found Wilson down the near sideline for a 22-yard touchdown pass for the game's first score.
On Butler's next drive, Ellsworth jumped offsides on the first play and Self took advantage by throwing a deep pass to a wide-open Wilson for a 60-yard touchdown. After a Tyler Zentner extra point, Butler took a 14-0 lead with 5:24 remaining in the quarter.
After the Self-Wilson combo helped Butler to a two-touchdown lead in the opening quarter, the Grizzlies pieced together their longest scoring drive of the game - a 12-play, 88-yard drive that ate up 6:49 off the clock. The drive ended when Makiya Caesar scored from one yard out.
Self completed a 17-yard pass to Kaden Davis early in the scoring drive, then found Wilson for 19 yards. An Ellsworth facemask penalty on the play gave Butler the ball at the Panthers' 23-yard line. Ellsworth helped Butler again with an offsides on a 4th-and-1 from the 9-yard line. Three plays later, Caesar crossed the goal line for the touchdown, but Zentner had the extra point blocked as Butler led 20-0.
Butler continued its passing assault in the second half as Self tossed his third touchdown of the game to Arvie Rice from 13 yards out just 4:18 into the third quarter.
The Grizzlies added a defensive touchdown later in the quarter when Amare Barno scooped up a backwards incomplete pass from the Ellsworth 14-yard line and ran into the end zone untouched, which gave Butler a 33-0 lead.
Ellsworth finally broke the shutout with a 36-yard quarterback keeper by backup Mark Wright just near the end of the third quarter. However, the Panthers gave points back on their next offensive possession as a snap on a punt from the Ellsworth 21-yard line went out of the end zone.
Butler's final scoring drive came midway through the fourth quarter, as Self found Weidenbacher over the middle for a six-yard touchdown pass. Wilson had a highlight-reel 41-yard catch on the drive, as he caught a pass from Self over an Ellsworth defender on the near sideline.
The Grizzly offense dominated the time of possession, keeping the ball for a season-high 39:02 and gaining 420 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Butler's defense matched a season-best with six sacks and limited Ellsworth to just 67 offensive yards on 42 plays (1.6 yards per play) and four first downs. The Panthers managed just 16 rushing yards on 25 carries.
Self had his best performance of the season by completing 16-of-22 passes in addition to 280 passing yards and four touchdowns. Wilson was Self's main target as he caught a team-high five receptions for 134 yards, while becoming Butler's first 100-plus yard receiver on the season. Vickers led the Grizzlies with 86 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
On defensive, Barno and Esaias Carpenter each had five tackles in the contest. Jordan Smith and Jacoby Jones had two sacks each, with Smith getting four solo tackles, three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.
Butler will host No. 3 Iowa Western in the home regular season finale next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Reivers (7-1) rolled to a 39-7 home victory over Fort Scott.
NOTES: Butler holds a 4-3-0 lead in the overall series with Ellsworth. The Grizzlies have now won three straight games over the Panthers... Wilson became the first Grizzly receiver to amass over 100 yards since Kendall Stewart had 115 receiving yards last season against Garden City on Sept. 30... The four touchdown passes by Self were the most by a Butler quarterback since Chris Helbig in a Sept. 9 contest last year at Coffeyville.