What you need to know about Butler hosting McDougle Technical Institute on Saturday
The Butler Grizzlies return home to their friendly confines after an impressive win last week against Highland. Butler, who is in right in the mix of the conference playoff race will step out of conference play for what they call at the NCAA level, a "guarantee" win against the McDougle Technical Institute Buffaloes of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Don't tell the players that, though. They know even though they're favorited heavily, every game is important.
Butler is honoring former legendary head coach, Troy Morrell, by inducting him into the Butler Community College Hall of Fame at halftime. Morrell won three national titles as the head coach of Butler retired in 2014.
It's most likely you've never heard of the Buffaloes of McDougle Technical Institute. That's okay and not at all a slight against someone who doesn't know their non-NJCAA teams.
This is the first year of junior college football for MTI, where they've been a powerhouse in the prep side of things for the last few years. They even won a national title in 2019 in the prep field.
Things to know about MTI it is within their plan in the next few years to be a fully sanctioned NJCAA program. They already offer two-year degrees in Florida. They are playing a different schedule, with NAIA teams and teams trying to become NAIA teams.
They have been traveling a bunch this season as they've been to Lackawanna (PA), Independence (KS) and Snow (Utah). Their record reflects all of the above: they're a new program that is playing on the road against some really top flight competition.
What Buffs to watch for
There's not a lot to know about MTI when it comes to personnel. Kohl Meisman, a 6-6 quarterback out of Rapid City, South Dakota is their quarterback. He had their only touchdown pass in the loss to Snow on Sept. 18. He went 13 of 24 for 164 yards in the 53-13 loss to Lackawanna two weeks ago.
Corey Polk, a freshman running back out of Laxoahatchee, Florida is in the back field. He had 21 carries in the Lackawanna loss.
Jordan Myles, who caught the only receiving touchdown in that loss to Lackawanna, is someone who can line up outside .
On the defensive side, Devin Martin leads the Buffs in tackles this season. Bre'Andre Horsley, a 6-3, 211 lb. linebacker from Lynchburg, Virginia has the team lead in sacks.
Don't be afraid if MTI scores early to see them attempt a two-point conversion to put Butler on their heels. They are the ones that have nothing to lose in this game.
Righting the ship
Butler took care of business against Highland last week in a much needed win, a 41-7 decision over Highland. Butler held Highland to less than 140 yards of offense and forced two turnovers.
The Grizzlies now have won nine straight over the Scotties, dating back to a 23-21 loss in 2013. Butler has now won 27 of 29 consecutive games over Highland dating back to 1979.
The Scotties are now 2-10 since former head coach Aaron Arnold retired as the head coach.
Butler head coach Tim Schaffner is three wins away from being the third coach in school history to win 50 games. He's currently 11th in most active wins (Mark Duda, Lackawanna, 178). Schaffner is currently eighth in winning percentages in terms of active head coaches.
Letting Big dogs eat
Butler's Darius Lassiter has proved time and time again, he's one of the best receivers in the nation and on Saturday against Highland, that was no different. He led Butler with five catches for 104 yards and a stellar touchdown in the first quarter.
One thing all of the attention has done is open up opportunities for others and Daevon Robinson has been the biggest recipient of that. While defense are keying their game plan against No. 8, Robinson is now seeing one-on-one coverage and he's making them pay.
Though he only had one reception against Highland, it was all money, a 24-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter. As Coffeyville was keying on Lassiter, it was Robinson who had a big time game, finishing with a career high, 157 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown.
This has opened up the passing game to where Butler is slinging the ball all across the field. The three quarterbacks have combined for 14 touchdown passes this season, surpassing last year's total in six games of nine.
With three games remaining on the schedule, Butler is well on pace to have the most touchdown passes in a single season as a team since 2014 when Demarcus Smith had 31 touchdowns for the Grizzlies.
One big reason for Butler being so efficient in the passing game is...
Screws being smart with the ball
If you were to ask Gavin Screws to honestly assess his own performance, he frank that it wasn't his best season. That's one reason why he's back and it's another reason why Screws is lighting up the scoreboard for the Grizzlies.
As it felt everything went against Screws last season, this season it's all looking roses. After only completing 43.8 percent of his passes last season to go along with only four touchdown passes and five interceptions, he's done a full 180-degree turn. This season after the win over Highland, Screws is completing 58.6 percent of his passes for 704 yards (176.0 yards per game) with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.
As Butler shared snaps at quarterback against Highland, it was Screws who was the more efficient quarterback, as the offense moved more fluidly with him at the helm. While Butler may split more time over the next couple of weeks, you can see the coaching staff have the utmost confidence that he could do the job.
Day time football
Butler is set to play McDougle Technical Institute on Saturday afternoon at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. It's a rare Saturday afternoon kick for Butler, as it'll be the first one since the Grizzlies lost to Iowa Western, 19-14, on Nov. 3, 2018. It was actually the second straight week for an afternoon game vs. an Iowa team.
Before those Iowa games, Butler played a lightning postponed game against Dodge City, a 7-3 loss, in 2017.
Since 2014, Butler is 3-3 in day games.
For the most part, night games at Butler have been a given. A night under the lights at BG is tough for opposing opponents. Butler is 23-6 at home in night games since 2015. They
Butler's history against non-NJCAA football teams
While schools probably would rather play NJCAA schools but money and schedules don't line up properly, so here we are. For Butler, they don't often play the non-NJCAA schools but there is a history of it happening.
The most recent was in 2019 when Butler beat Air Force Prep, 27-0. In fact, since 1992, Air Force Prep is the only non-NJCAA school Butler has played. They've played them six of the last seven seasons and 13 of the last 15 seasons, with the spring season being the only one over that time due to COVID-19. Butler also did not play them in 2013 as well. Butler has won the 13 games by an average of 29.7 points per game.
There have been numerous games against NAIA or NCAA Division II junior varsity teams. The last one was in 1991 when they played the Missouri Valley University JV, a 41-0 win for the Grizzlies.
Butler is a lifetime 55-15-3 against teams who are not NJCAA teams.
Saturday's meeting with McDougle Tech will be the 62nd different opponent in Butler football history.
McDougle's schedule through heading into Saturday's game
- Sept. 5: at Middle Georgia State University [club] (W, 33-15)
- Sept. 11: at Independence CC (L, 69-0)
- Sept. 18: at Snow College (L, 84-7)
- Oct. 2: at Lackawanna (L, 53-13)
What time is the Butler vs. McDougle Tech, and how to watch
Who: McDougle Technical Institute (1-4) at RV Butler (2-1, 2-1 KJCCC)
When: Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.
Where: BG Products Veterans Sports Complex — El Dorado, Kansas
Watch: KJCCC Network | BCTV Channel 20 local Cox Channel
Series: It is the first meeting in the head-to-head series.