Turnovers Sour TU’s Home Opener with Butler
UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor jumped all over visiting NCAA Division I FCS Butler inside Turner Stadium on Saturday night for a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the affair, but a rash of costly turnovers turned the game into a lopsided victory for the Bulldogs.
TU moved the ball at will on its opening drive of the contest, picking up 74 yards on nine plays and capping the scoring drive with a 19-yard touchdown sprint from Brendan Lamb.
The lead doubled to 14-0 after Josh Saltzgaber intercepted a Butler pass on its third play from scrimmage and ran it back 27 yards to the three-yard line, where Lamb punched it in on the next snap for a two-score lead just 4:54 into the game.
Butler (2-1) hit back with touchdowns on its next two possessions and a Zane Shilts field goal from 42 yards out gave the Trojans a 17-14 lead with 5:23 to play in the first quarter.
The night turned against TU from there, as its next possession ended with a punt, before four-straight turnovers deep in its own territory led directly to four touchdowns for the guests. When the smoke had settled, Taylor’s 17-14 lead had turned into a 49-17 deficit in just over 15 minutes of game action.
A Grant Gerig 71-yard rush, followed by Lamb’s sixth touchdown run of the season gave Taylor one final highlight, but Butler never looked back in the 77-24 onslaught.
Gerig and Lamb provided the offensive high notes for Taylor, with Gerig ending at 85 rushing yards on four carries and Lamb going for three more scores and 64 yards on 17 touches. Shilts also provided six points, going a perfect three-of-three in point-after tries and adding the career-long 42-yard field goal.
On the defensive side of the trenches, Saltzgaber and Sam Bolin led the way with nine stops each, with Saltzgaber also providing the interception and Sam Bartu turning in Taylor’s lone sack.
Taylor (1-1) will look to bounce back on October 2, when it plays at No. 6 Olivet Nazarene (1-1) in another 7:00 pm start.