BADGERS BEAT BUTLER IN SECOND ANNUAL
ZIONS BANK TOP OF THE MOUNTAINS BOWL
EPHRAIM, Utah—December 5, 2005-Two players playing their final game in Badger blue and gold teamed for the winning
touchdown as Snow edged Butler 17-14 in Saturday's Zions Bank Top of the Mountains
Bowl. James Pritchard found Ryan Neeley for a 36-yard touchdown with 11:00 remaining
that gave Snow its first lead. The defense, which limited the Grizzlies to 212 total
yards, held on from there and Snow had a second straight win in the Top of the Mountains
"I saw the end zone, I saw the ball in the air, and I thought, 'I've got to get there,' Neely said. "And I got there." Neeley, a sophomore transfer from Dixie State, scored both touchdowns for Snow. The first touchdown evened the score at 7-7 in the second quarter when Pritchard found Neeley for a 39-yard catch and run. Neeley finished with two catches for 75 yards. Pritchard (15-30 for 223 yards, two TDs, two Ints.) was named Snow's offensive most valuable player. "I don't know if I'm ever going to play this game again, so it was a great way to go out," said Pritchard.
The Badgers could have been out of the game in the second quarter. With Butler leading 7-0, Matt Asiata, Snow's leading rusher, was thrown out of the game on a controversial personal foul penalty. Titan Trimble, Snow's head coach, raced onto the field vociferously protesting the call. The officials assessed Coach Trimble a penalty as well and the cumulative 30 yards took Butler's offense to the Snow 7-yard line.
On first down, Ryan Torrain gained six yards to the 1-yard line. Two downs later it was fourth and goal from the one. Paul Eck, Butler's quarterback, faked a handoff into the middle of the line and rolled out to his right. The Badger's pursued and Zeke Mendenhall, a freshman safety, knocked him out of bounds short of the goal line.
"I was real hot, and the kids responded," exclaimed Trimble. "The players came to me (after Asiata was tossed) and said 'We're not going to let them score Coach.'"
"To make a stand like that, that's just a credit to the team," said Chase Palmer, a sophomore safety. "Everyone wanted to get the win, not for ourselves but for the other guy."
Snow began the game by recovering an onside kick but Butler held the Badgers to three and out. Butler took possession and scored on their fifth offensive play - a 59-yard touchdown run by Ryan Torrain. It would never be that easy again for the Grizzlies even though they held the lead into the fourth quarter.
Butler's second touchdown came early in the second quarter after a Pritchard interception gave the Grizzlies a short field. Eck found Jamario Kendric for a 3-yard touchdown on third down and Butler led 14-7. Snow made it 14-10 with an Adrian Vera field goal and then failed on a fourth down try late in the third quarter in Butler territory instead of kicking a field goal. The Grizzlies had an apparent touchdown called back in the third quarter due to a penalty.
Snow dominated statistically finishing with 403 yards of offense to Butler's 212, 25 first downs to Butler's 9 and ran a whopping 81 plays to Butler's 52. The Badger defense gave up 116 yards in the first quarter and then allowed only 96 yards the final three quarters. Brett Madsen, a sophomore linebacker from Mt. Pleasant, was the defensive most valuable player. At halftime, the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl Committee honored the 1985 national championship team. Walt Kriner, coach of the '85 Badgers, was on hand with approximately half of the team, which received a commemorative copy of their victory over Northeastern Oklahoma in the Mid America Bowl.
With the win, Snow jumped from 14th to 8th in the NJCAA's final poll.