Behind the title: Yesterday, we looked back at Butler’s 1981 NJCAA title team. Today, it’s Butler’s 1998 NJCAA title team – the one that shocked the nation with an upset of No. 1 Ricks (now BYU-Idaho) in front of almost 12,000 at the Real Dairy Bowl. How foreign was the national stage for the Grizzlies at this point? Most of the players had to purchase special, flat-bottomed shoes to play on the turf at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho. Tailback Rudi Johnson was a freshman on this team and rushed for almost 700 yards in the three playoff games (all 8 teams used to make league playoffs) and the Grizzlies rallied from second-half deficits six times for victories. It was the first NJCAA title for the Jayhawk since Coffeyville won in 1990 and ended a string of Jayhawk teams coming up short when playing for the title – Garden City twice and Coffeyville once … which leads us to our next point: There were no official title games at this point. Butler received 106 votes in the final NJCAA poll – just one more than Jones County (Miss.).
Game story and box score from the title game after the jump.