Oct. 26, 2013
(San Diego, Calif.) - Needing a win to stay in the hunt for a third straight PFL title, the USD Toreros came up big in all three phases of their game today in dealing the Butler Bulldogs their first league loss with a convincing 42-14 win. With the victory the Toreros join Butler, Dayton and Marist with identical 4-1 PFL records, while Mercer sits at 3-1. Senior Mason Mills became just the 5th PFL quarterback to surpass the 10,000 passing yards milestone, and finished off a brilliant performance with totals of 26-of-36 passing for 407 yards and 5 touchdowns. Both the Torero defense and special teams unit shined in the winning effort as well.
"Our offense didn't turn the ball over which was huge for us today," said head coach Dale Lindsey. Asked about Mason reaching 10,000 career yards in passing, Lindsey added, "Mason does a great job managing the team. We like what he has done over his career, but most importantly, he competes to win. That's all you can ask a guy to do."
Mills finished the day with newly padded USD records of: 816 completions, 1,226 attempts, and 10,204 passing yards. With 84 career touchdown passes, he only trails Josh Johnson (113, 2004-07).
The Toreros controlled the game immediately and eventually jumped out to a 35-0 lead late in the second quarter before Butler put points on the scoreboard for the 35-7 halftime score. At the break Mills had passing totals of 15-for-19 for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the first quarter he connected with Brandon White for a 7-yard TD completion, followed by Joe Ferguson reaching the end zone on a 7-yard run. In the second period Mills connected for three straight touchdowns to Reggie Bell (40 yards), Sam Hoekstra (54 yards) and fullback Lawrence Larivee (5 yards). Butler quarterback Matt Lancaster reached the end zone on a 3-yard keeper with just 15 seconds for the Bulldogs' lone score of the half.
In the second half the Torero defense continued to put the clamps down on Butler as the Bulldogs added just one more score, a 9-yard pass from Lancaster to Brendan Shannon. The Toreros answered just before the end of the third period as White hauled in his second TD, this time from 6 yards out. Neither team scored in the final period, however the Toreros were able to control most of the quarter by having the ball for just over 10 minutes.
Mills' favorite target was senior receiver Sam Hoekstra who grabbed 9 receptions for 175 yards and 1 score. Hoekstra needed just 30 yards to reach 2,000 receiving yards for his career. Reggie Bell added 5 receptions for 63 yards and 1 score, while Joe Ferguson paced the ground attack with 19 carries for 87 yards and 1 touchdown. Freshman punter Ryan Belden was solid as he averaged 46.0 yards on 4 punts, including a long of 59 and two inside the 20.
The Torero defense held Butler to just 14 points, matching their lowest output of the season back to their season-opening 55-14 loss to South Dakota State. Butler was paced by Matt Lancaster (25-41 for 251 yards and 1 TD) and running back Trae Heeter (18 carries fro 60 yards).
Safety Matt Miller totaled a game-high 13 tackles (8 solo) to go with 1 forced fumble and 1 pass break-up. He was followed by senior linebacker Zach Devaney (10 tackles), safety Robbie Beathard (9 stops), and senior linebacker Michael Ruffino (9 stops). Troy McClelland collected an interception midway through the final period to end a Butler scoring threat.
The Toreros hit the road next Saturday with a contest at Valparaiso (Nov. 2nd, 10 a.m. PDT).