COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa Western’s last two trips to Butler haven’t been pleasant experiences.
Last year, the Reivers lost 21-19 to the then-No. 4 Grizzlies, turning it over four times to go with 12 penalties for 139 yards. As the only blemish in an 11-1 season, it cost them a chance to play in the national championship game.
In 2015, the Reivers lost 40-7 and were physically dominated.
Saturday brings a chance for redemption for third-rated Iowa Western (7-1). The Reivers will travel to El Dorado, Kansas, to meet the No. 12 Grizzlies (7-2) for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
“If you need something to get yourself up for this game, you’re probably not a football player,” Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier said. “This is what you come to Iowa Western for. You want to be in these situations. They love playing in their home stadium and they get good crowds.”
There is the potential for a defensive-oriented game. No. 12 Butler (7-2) held Ellsworth to 67 total yards on 42 plays and four first downs last week in a 42-6 win. It hasn’t allowed more than 15 points in its past four games.
Iowa Western’s offensive line is depleted. Starting left tackle Tre Johnson has been ruled out with an injury and starting right tackle Ja’Chai Baker is doubtful. Andrew Beymer, another tackle with starting experience, has been lost for the season to injury.
“Obviously we won’t be doing everything we’d envisioned being able to do,” Strohmeier said.
But the Reivers are surrendering 15.8 points per game. In last week’s 39-7 win over Fort Scott, they allowed 238 total yards. So field position and special teams could play an even larger role Saturday.
Butler received excellent quarterback play last week. Trae Self completed 16 of 22 for 280 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Iowa Western, meanwhile, has relied on T.J. Starks and Clay Beathard, depending on the day. Starks left last week’s game with an ankle injury and Beathard finished, but both will be ready to go on Saturday, Strohmeier said.
“We have to be efficient there,” he said.
Another area of interest will be Iowa Western’s discipline. Last week, it was flagged 17 times for 152 yards, and the second half disintegrated into an ugly scene of personal fouls and unsportsmanlike-conduct violations, including player ejections from each team.
Receivers Mike Hill and Jason Harrison were recently dismissed from the squad.
“I like to win. I like to play. I love to coach,” Strohmeier said. “That end of the game wasn’t fun for me by any stretch. It wasn’t a good representation of college football, I didn’t think, on either side. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to control your emotions.”
NJCAA final to be televised
The NJCAA’s national championship game will be televised for the first time.
The title game, set for 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at Carnie Smith Stadium in Pittsburg, Kansas, will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.
“We are thrilled to announce the CBS Sports Network as our official television partner for the football championship game,” NJCAA president and CEO Dr. Christopher Parker said.
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July 1: Air Force's Nic Ready hit a total of 55 home runs, including 21 in the final round, to edge Clemson's Logan Davidson in the College Home Run Derby.
June 28: Oregon State celebrates beating Arkansas 5-0 in Game 3 of the CWS championship series. The Beavers were down to their last out in Game 2 before a fielding blunder by the Razorbacks gave Oregon State a second life, which it took advantage of en route to the program's third CWS title.
June 18: John Olson, and Mary Olson, of Joslyn, Missouri, take cover under ponchos during a rain delay at the College World Series. Weather provided a huge problem in the 2018 CWS.
June 15: Cam'ron Jones checks out Omaha.com, or perhaps Snapchat, during the Huskers' Friday Night Lights camp.
May 19: Fremont's Lucas Arps celebrates after winning the Class A 400-meter dash.
May 19: Lincoln Lutheran's Josie Puelz celebrates after clearing 12-2 in the Class C girls pole vault final.
May 17: Omaha Roncalli's Thomas Alitz cheers after scoring the winning run in the Class B state championship on a hit by Logan McGill with two outs in the seventh inning.
May 17: Omaha Creighton Prep's Eric Allbery, right, jumps on the dogpile as the Junior Jays celebrate their Class A state baseball title.
May 16: South Sioux City celebrates after defeating Elkhorn South in the Class B state soccer championship.
May 16: Kearney's Christian Dakan hoists the Class A state soccer trophy alongside his teammates.
May 14: Millard North celebrates its Class A state championship win against Omaha Marian by kissing the trophy.
May 14: Elkhorn celebrates its Class B championship win against Omaha Skutt.
May 9: Creighton's Will Robertson celebrates with Jack Strunc, left, after homering the fifth inning. The Jays beat UNO 10-6.
May 6: The Omaha Storm Chasers play below the newly dedicated Steve Pivovar Press Box at Werner Park.
April 21: Nebraska coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers during the Tunnel Walk on Saturday.
April 19: Awardee Dante Pettis and former Nebraska football player Johnny Rodgers, right, pictured during the Jet Award dinner.
April 19: Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne attends the Jet Award dinner.
April 18: UNO's Malik Moore pitches against Nebraska. The Mavericks knocked off the Huskers for the first time since 1997.
April 11: Creighton's Will Robertson, left, and Thomas Luevano celebrate scoring on a triple by Jack Strunc.
April 11: Elkhorn South's Mo Gohr gains control of the ball in the Metro Conference tournament.
April 3: Scott Frost directs Husker football practice.
March 31: The boy campers pose for a photo at the Athletes' Training Center Futures Camp at Iowa West Field House.
March 27: Creighton defeats Nebraska 3-1 in the first matchup of the year.
March 25: Kansas' Malik Newman drives to the basket, drawing a blocking foul on Duke's Wendell Carter. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Blue Devils in Omaha and advance to the Final Four.
March 17: Creighton defeats Iowa in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
March 17: Creighton's bench cheers as Michael Emodi hits a walk-off homer off Wichita State pitcher Chandler Sanburn in the Jays' home opener.
March 12: The Creighton women's basketball team celebrates making the NCAA tournament.
March 10: Wahoo celebrates winning the Class C-1 boys basketball title.
March 10: Nebraska City Lourdes' Quinten Vasa, center, holds up the trophy with his team.
March 9: Glenwood celebrates after winning its first boys basktball state title in school history.
March 3: Scotus' Maggie Feehan celebrates after winning the Class C-1 title.
March 3: Superior celebrates a Class C-2 championship win over Ravenna.
Feb. 25: Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night. The Huskers went on to defeat Penn State.
Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night.
Feb. 24: Creighton's Marcus Foster, left, and Davion Mintz celebrate Creighton's 89-83 overtime victory over Villanova.
Feb. 24: Omaha Creighton Prep's Colin LaFave competes in the 100 fly at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 24: Lincoln Southwest's Anna Heinrich, left, and Josie Ford celebrate their first and second-place finishes in the 50 free at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 17: Kearney’s Phillip Moomey is in the top 20 of his weight class in two national polls. Only a handful of underclassmen are ranked ahead of him.
Feb. 17: Omaha Burke's Jakason Burks does a backflip after defeating Millard South's Caleb Coyle during the 106-pound Class A final at the state wrestling championships.
Jan. 28: Omaha Lancers coach and General Manager David Wilkie talks with players during first-period action.
Jan. 26: UNO's Luke Nogard skates past the referee.
Jan. 16: Nebraska's Nicea Eliely gets excited during pregame introductions as the Huskers went on to beat Iowa.
Nebraska's James Palmer celebrates a home victory over Illinois with Isaiah Roby.
Jan. 9: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, left, talks with former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne during the Outland Trophy banquet.
Jan. 4: Omaha Burke's Shereef Mitchell brings the ball up court in the Metro holiday tournament.
Jan. 1: In his final game with Central Florida, now-Nebraska coach Scott Frost raises the Peach Bowl title after defeating Auburn.