#2 Butler Upends #1 Snow 56-27
in Zions Bank Top of Mountain Bowl

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 1, 2007) - Friday at the Zions Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl banquet, legendary college football coach LaVell Edwards spoke to both No. 1 Snow College (Utah) and No. 2 Butler Community College (Kan.) and told them that victory on Saturday would go to the team that overcame adversity during the game. At the time Edwards had no idea how accurate his prognostication would be.

On a day where over six inches of snow fell on the playing surface at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Butler Grizzlies overcame the elements and the nation's second-ranked defense to take down the No. 1 Snow Badgers 56-27 in the fourth edition of the Zions Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl.

The win will likely crown Butler the 2007 NJCAA Football National Champion in the final NJCAA / JC Football.com Poll of the season, which will be officially released on Monday, Dec. 10. If that comes true it will be their fifth title and second in the last five years (2003).

Butler jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter by establishing a punishing rushing attack. All-Region 6 running back Beau Johnson scored on Butler's opening drive on a seven-yard run at the 11:55 mark in the opening quarter. Snow responded with a 62-yard drive capped off by a one-yard plunge by running back Niu Takai.

Soni Sotele, ranked fourth in the NJCAA in rushing coming into the game, did not play for Snow due to injury.

The Grizzlies scored their second touchdown with 4:07 left in the first frame when running back Randell Bell took it in from six yards out. The Badgers cut Butler's lead to 14-13 early in the second quarter. Quarterback Jon Eastman engineered a 64-yard drive that ended when he found tight end Peter Tuitupou for a two-yard touchdown.

The score at the half was 21-13 as Butler quarterback Mike Garrison completed his first of two touchdown passes to Wayne Bonner, which was a 31-yard strike with 8:35 to play in the half.

Butler took control of the game in the third quarter when they exploded for 21 points, including an 80-yard touchdown run by Johnson to open the half. Garrison then found Bonner for a 64-yard score with 11:07 left in the quarter, which gave Butler a 35-13 lead.

The Badgers got back into the game on a two-yard pass play from Eastman to Sam Thomas to make the score 35-20 in favor of Butler with 6:37 in the third.

Snow then mounted a defensive stop on Butler's next possession at the 12:00 mark in the third quarter. But just as Snow seemed to steal the momentum, a roughing the punter penalty gave Butler an automatic first down in Snow territory. The Grizzlies then capitalized on the mistake and scored two plays later on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Garrison to Sam Jacobsen to increase their lead 42-20.

Eastman then threw an interception at the end of the third quarter deep in Butler territory, which made the possibility of a Badger comeback doubtful.

The Butler running game controlled the clock in the fourth quarter, grinding out 86 yards with Johnson accounting for 75. However, Snow scored first in the final frame on a one-yard run by Takai at the 10:05 mark to cut Butler 's lead to 42-27.

The Badger defense then stopped the Grizzlies on fourth down on the Snow 18-yard line with 6:58 left in the game. However, on the ensuing play a botched snap out of the shotgun formation was fumbled by Eastman and recovered by Grizzly linebacker Chris Campa on the Snow 9-yard line.

Johnson then rumbled into the endzone on the next play to put the game out of reach, 49-27, with 6:52 left in the game. Johnson, the offensive MVP of the game for Butler, sealed the win with a two yard score in the waning moments.

The Butler offense had a big day, amassing 504 yards of total offense and 56 points on a Snow team that was allowing just 128 yards and 12.4 points heading into the contest. Johnson finished with 233 yards on 28 carries and scored four times. Garrison was very impressive as well, completing 10-of-16 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns.

Not to go unnoticed was the Grizzly defense, which ranked seventh in the nation heading into the game. They limited a powerful Snow offense to 355 total yards - well below their season average of 457. Defensive end Markus White, the defensive MVP for Butler, had eight tackles and a sack to lead the Grizzlies. Cornerback Dorain Williams also had eight tackles and an interception for Butler.

Takai led Snow with 112 rushing yards on 32 carries and scored two touchdowns, while Eastman finished the day completing 19-of-35 for 250 yards and two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Safety Andrew Rich led the Badger defense with 11 tackles.


Butler Community College (12-0) - 14 - 7 - 21 - 14 = 56
Snow College (11-1) - 7 - 6 - 7 - 7 = 27

1st Quarter
BUT - Johnson 4 yard run, Fowler kick (11:55)
SNO - Takai 1 yard run, Phillips kick (5:40)
BUT - Bell 6 yard run, Fowler kick (4:07)

2nd Quarter
SNO - Tuitupou 2 yard pass from Eastman, kick blocked
BUT - Bonner 31 yard pass from Garrison, Fowler kick

3rd Quarter
BUT - Johnson 80 yard run, Fowler kick (13:58)
BUT - Bonner 64-yard pass from Garrison, Fowler kick (11:07)
SNO - Thomas 2 yard pass from Eastman, Phillips kick (6:57)
BUT - Jacobsen 36 yard pass from Garrison, Fowler kick (4:21)

4th Quarter
SNO - Takai 1 yard run, Phillips kick (10:05)
BUT - Johnson 9 yard run, Fowler kick (6:52)
BUT - Johnson 2 yard run, Fowler kick (0:59)

Rush Yards -- Snow,105 - Butler, 277
Pass Yards -- Snow, 250 - Butler, 227
Total Offense -- Snow, 355 - Butler, 504
First Downs -- Snow, 19 - Butler, 24
Possession -- Snow, 32:52 - Butler, 27:07

This site created and updated by Wayne White of NMB WebGraphix.