IOWA FALLS, Iowa – Butler football had a strong defensive effort for the third consecutive game, as the eighth-ranked Grizzlies picked up a 30-3 road victory over Ellsworth at Cadet Field on Saturday.
The Grizzlies (8-2 overall, 4-2 conference) held Ellsworth to a season-low three yards – including minus-24 rushing yards – recorded six sacks and 15 tackles for losses, while defensive back Ezekiel Robbins had a safety in the third quarter. On offense, Butler quarterback Jack Samsel threw two touchdown passes and running backs Adarius Thomas and Ivan Webb each had a touchdown run in the win.
In Butler's last three contests, the defense has allowed 10 total points and limited the opposition to just 26 rushing yards per game.
Butler scored on its opening possession of the game as Thomas scored on a 23-yard touchdown run. Samsel completed a 17-yard pass to George Qualls and a 16-yard pass to Jarik Caldwell early in the drive.
The Grizzlies took a 14-0 lead with 13:07 remaining in the second quarter when Samsel hit Caldwell over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The scoring drive was helped by personal foul on a late hit out of bounds on Rhett Weidenbacher, who caught a 9-yard pass on 3rd-and-5 from the Butler 27.
Later in the drive, Samsel converted a 4th-and-1 with a four-yard keeper to the Ellsworth 36-yard line, then Thomas added a 17-yard run just three plays before Samsel's scoring pass.
In the third quarter, Butler's defense recorded its lone turnover of the contest when Eric Scott picked off a tipped pass at the Ellsworth 26-yard line. Samsel kept the drive alive on a 4th-and-2 from the Panthers' 18 with a 10-yard run. Two plays later, Samsel dropped a 10-yard pass to JaQuay Lane in the right corner of the end zone with 10:09 remaining in the quarter.
Later in the quarter, Grizzly punter Jacob Abel set up the safety by pinning Ellsworth with a 31-yard punt to the 3-yard line. On the Panthers' first play of the drive, Ellsworth running back Shaundarious Kimbrough was tackled in the end zone by Robbins for a safety.
Butler's last score came with 2:31 left in the contest when Webb busted up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown run, capping a 10-play, 83-yard drive that ate 5:09 off the clock. Webb had all of his game-high 64 yards rushing on six attempts during the drive, as the Grizzlies ran the ball all 10 plays.
The Grizzlies finished with 298 offensive yards, with 190 yards coming on the ground. Along with Webb's 64 yards, Thomas had 51 yards on 12 carries and Brock Sturges gained 39 yards with 12 attempts.
Next up for Butler will be another non-conference road battle as the Grizzlies face No. 13 Iowa Western, who earned a 31-10 road victory at No. 17 Fort Scott on Saturday. The Reivers (6-3 overall) have won five straight games and have averaged 38.8 points per game during the winning streak. Kickoff from Council Bluffs is at 1:00 p.m.
NOTES: Butler improved to 5-3-0 all-time against Ellsworth and have won the last four meetings. The Grizzlies are now 2-2-0 in games played at Iowa Falls.