Grant Traylor: Marshall's Butler, Purdue's Lucas to re-unite
Marshall running back Steward Butler broke onto the scene last week with an 18-carry, 166-yard performance that helped the Thundering Herd’s rushing game nearly equal its total output from the first three games of the season.
This week, Butler and the Thundering Herd are taking on one of the nation’s top defenses in Purdue.
And when Butler looks to run past the Purdue linebackers he will be eluding an old high school teammate from Lakeland, Fla. — Will Lucas of the Boilermakers.
“It’ll be fun to be playing against one of my old friends,” Butler said. “It will definitely bring back some memories.”
It will be a tale of former Lakeland High School players who led their teams in their respective crafts.
Butler, an elusive redshirt freshman back, tops Marshall with 242 yards rushing on 37 carries.
Lucas, a junior weak-side linebacker, leads Purdue with 19 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
Butler’s motivation isn’t just facing his old teammate. Butler said he always gets cranked up when big-name opponents are on the other side of the football.
“It’ll be very exciting,” Butler said. “They’re a pretty good team. We might get some recognition if we can take down a Big Ten team.”
Butler also said it’s about getting respect for the Marshall running game.
Even after rushing for 334 yards against Rice last week, Herd runners still don’t have the respect they feel they deserve.
“Not yet,” Butler said. “I don’t want to say that yet. I think the fans see that we are getting there and we’re working on it, but not just yet.
“If we beat Purdue, then we’d probably get a lot of recognition.”
STRONG STARTS: Purdue has not allowed a point in the first quarter all season, and has limited the opposition to just eight first downs in the first 15 minutes of games.
Through three contests, the Boilermakers have allowed just 186 total yards to the opposition in the first quarter of games.
MOUNTAIN STATE CONNECTION: Purdue offensive line coach Shawn Clark is a native of Charleston.
Clark played collegiately at Appalachian State, was an All-American in 1996 and 1998 and has been on the field against Marshall before.
He was also a graduate assistant at Louisville during t3he 2002 GMAC Bowl game against the Herd.
Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).