Princeton Dominates Both Sides Of The Ball, Scores Early & Often In 50-7 Rout Of Butler
It was easy to wonder how the Princeton offense might look when it was somebody other than Chad Kanoffbehind center for the first time in 30 games.
It took all of 26 seconds to get an answer.
Princeton opened its 2018 season in thrilling fashion Saturday night at Butler, as the Tigers posted a 50-7 victory over a Bulldogs team that came into the game unbeaten and had a win over a FCS Top-25 program in Youngstown State. Senior quarterback John Lovettaccounted for four touchdowns, including a game-opening 63-yard scoring pass to All-American Jesper Horsted that ignited a 44-point first half.
Princeton scored early and often in the first half, and then dominated time of possession in the second half in the Tigers’ most dominant season opener in decades. Lovett threw two touchdown passes to Horsted (66 and 15), and rushed for two touchdowns of his own during an all-Princeton opening half. Senior tailback Charlie Volker added touchdown runs of 2 and 19 yards to close the first half, and then spent most of the second half with his fellow starters watching the Tiger depth maintain control of the game.
The Tiger defense was just as spectacular, limiting Butler to one scoring drive and fewer than 300 total yards. Senior captain Mark Fossati had a team-best seven tackles in his first game back from his 2017 season-ending injury, while James Johnson added six while leading the Tiger defense during the second half. Sophomore Samuel Wright had four tackles, including two for loss, as well as a sack and forced fumble, while both Ben Ellis and Joey DeMarco had fumble recoveries.
Princeton set the tone immediately. On the second play from scrimmage, Lovett lofted a perfect pass down the right sideline, which allowed Horsted to sprint past his man, run under the ball and take it home for the 66-yard score. Horsted moved from seventh to fourth on the all-time receiving yards list for Princeton after catching seven passes for 140 yards, and he is now only two touchdown catches away from Derek Graham’s career record of 19.
Both lines were terrific throughout the game. The offensive line, which featured a trio of new starters, opened holes in the run game and gave Lovett time to throw. The defensive line continuously pressured Butler quarterback Will Marty, who averaged fewer than 6.0 yards per attempt in the first loss of the season for the Bulldogs. Jay Rolader and Matthew Jester also had sacks for the Tigers, while Anthony Siragusa had two of Princeton’s eight tackles for loss.
Princeton will now turn its attention to the 2018 home opener next Saturday at 4:30 pm against Monmouth, a NCAA postseason qualifier last year. It will be Community & Staff Day at Princeton Stadium, and there will be a youth clinic at Weaver Track prior to kickoff. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.