HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Trailing by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter Saturday at Gowans Stadium, Eastern Arizona scored 15 unanswered to knock off No. 14 Butler 39-38 in the Salt City Bowl.
Jonathan Thomas rushed for a game-high 130 yards and two touchdowns on 29 attempts. The Eastern Arizona quarterback went 3 for 5 passing for 38 yards. Thomas was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Game.
Gila Monsters running back Andrew Hardrick ran for 68 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. Adding to the Eastern Arizona ground game was DeOndre Cooksey’s 13 rushes for 68 yards.
The Gila Monsters effectively executed their offensive game plan, rushing for 357 yards on 68 carries and holding a 34:19 to 25:41 advantage in time of possession.
Defensively for the Gila Monsters, Leon McQuaker led the team with 10 tackles including five solo. Ezekial Moore intercepted a pass for Eastern Arizona while Fredrick Furlow and Justin Ewen each recovered Butler fumbles.
With the victory, Eastern Arizona improved its overall record to 9-3 for the year and ranked 13th nationally. With their program’s first NJCAA bowl victory, the Gila Monsters are now 2-2 all-time in the postseason – winning the 2007 exhibition Chihuahua Bowl against a Mexican all-star team.