The Drake Bulldogs will return to Drake Stadium this Saturday to host the Marist Red Foxes for the annual homecoming game at 1 p.m.
This will be the first game the Drake football team has played at home since its loss against Lehigh in the home opener nearly a month ago. After three straight road games, the Bulldogs hold a record of 2-2. Coming off of a tight 21-19 win in its Pioneer Football League opener at Valparaiso last Saturday, Drake is hoping to play hard and come out with a victory at home.
“Our overriding goal for the season and every week is to reach our full potential and be the best,” Head Coach Chris Creighton said. “Part of being the best is figuring out a way to win the game.”
Marist (1-2) is coming off a 45-39 loss in its PFL opener at home against Morehead State last Saturday. Marist has 11 starters who returned from last year after a 7-4 season in which the Red Foxes tied their program record for most wins in a season.
Saturday will be Marist’s first away game of the season and its second PFL matchup. Marist has scored an average of 26 points per game, and is scoring on 75 percent of its possessions in the red zone. The Red Foxes also rank sixth in passing in the Football Championship Subdivision, averaging 305.3 yards per game.
The Bulldogs won last week at Valparaiso largely due to a successful performance by the defense. Drake junior nose guard David Witkiewicz was named the PFL Defensive Player of the Week after a 13-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Drake is looking to continue its strong defensive play as well as step it up on the offensive end against Marist on Saturday.
“We just need to be able to play consistently over all four quarters,” Creighton said. “We are really good in spurts, but we haven’t had a full team effort over four quarters. I would really like to see that this week.”
Drake played Marist for the first time ever last season and came out on top with six turnovers converted to scores for the 34-6 win. The Bulldogs are hoping to use their past experience against Marist, consistent performances by both the offense and defense throughout the whole game and the support of a home crowd to help them win on Saturday.
“There are two parts to this homecoming,” Creighton said. “One is that we’re really coming home, so we’re really excited about that. We always like to play at home with support from the community.”
Photo: Carter Oswood