Valparaiso, Ind. - Dale Jennings rushed for two touchdowns and caught another as Butler defeated Valpo 52-22 in the final Pioneer Football League game of the season for both teams. Kevin Knutson caught two touchdown passes and Rob Giancola made one touchdown reception for the Crusaders (0-9, 0-4 PFL) on Parents' Day. Valpo has two non-conference games remaining. The game featured 1,010 total yards as Butler amassed 534 and Valpo compiled 476.
Giancola, a sophomore wide receiver from Whiting, Ind./HS, caught four passes for 163 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown pass from David Macchi. Knutson, a sophomore from River Falls, Wis./HS, made seven receptions for 82 yards, including 25 and 16-yard touchdown passes from Joe Milazzo. Ryan Barno added five catches for 79 yards. Macchi, Valpo's single-season recordholder with 2,779 passing yards, completed 17 of 32 passes for 295 yards with four interceptions. Bryan Hollermeier led the Crusaders in rushing with 84 yards on 17 carries.
Jennings led all rushers with 123 yards on 23 carries, including scoring runs of 10 and 25 yards. The senior halfback also caught five passes for 111 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown pass from Ian Nelson.
Valpo took a 3-0 lead with 13:19 left in the first quarter when Adam Hudak booted a 25-yard field goal. Butler (4-5, 2-2 PFL) tied the game a 3-3 on Matt Taber's 30-yard field goal. The Bulldogs grabbed the lead when Nelson plunged in from 1-yard, and expanded their advantage to 24-3 on Jennings' 48-yard touchdown reception and Craig Kerins' 22-yard interception return.
Milazzo, who completed three of seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns, then connected with Knutson for his 25-yard score to trim the Butler lead to 24-10 with 11:06 left in the second quarter. However, the Bulldogs scored 14 straight points on Justin Campbell's 1-yard run and Jennings' 10-yard scamper.
Giancola hauled in a 59-yard touchdown pass from Macchi late in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 38-16. The only scoring in the third quarter came on a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Scott Reddel.
The teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Knutson caught a 16-yard scoring pass and Jennings added his 25-yard touchdown run.
Valpo outpassed Butler 361-227 and the Bulldogs won the rushing yards battle 307-115. Butler had 25 first downs to 23 for the Crusaders. Nelson finished with 98 rushing yards on 16 carries and completed 13 of 24 passes for 227 yards.
The game included a milestone as senior offensive lineman Tom Byrne set a Valpo record with his 42nd consecutive start. Byrne, from Evergreen Park, Ill./St. Rita, broke the record of Eric Rodbro, who started 41 straight games from 1995-98.
Valpo hosts Lindenwood next Saturday (Nov. 9) at noon.