#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
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
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
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
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
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)
SNO - Tuitupou 2 yard pass from Eastman, kick blocked
BUT - Bonner 31 yard pass from Garrison, Fowler kick
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)
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)
TEAM STATS : SNOW - BUTLER
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