Photo: Luke Nankivell
Coming off two straight losses against nationally ranked opponents, Drake looks to start off strong in conference play with the Pioneer Football League opener against the Morehead State Eagles (1-2) this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Drake Stadium.
The Bulldogs suffered a pair of losses against Top-25 foes Montana State and Indiana State. They’ll be out to prove they remain at the top of the PFL. Behind fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski, the Bulldog offense looks to pick up where it left off last season in the PFL as he hopes to cap off his career with a championship.
Last season, Drake defeated Morehead State on the road 41-26 behind 310 yards from Piatkowski. The defense sacked Zach Lewis six times and totaled 10 tackles for losses.
This year, it’s a lot of the same for the Eagles, with Lewis leading their high-powered offense. The spread offense of Morehead State is something to behold, throwing the ball between 40 and 50 times every game. However, the Eagles have been prone to turnovers, something Drake looks to capitalize on. In their loss last week to Saint Francis (Pa.), Lewis threw three interceptions and receiver Brandon Bornhauser threw another one as that allowed St. Francis to put up 43 points in the second half alone.
For the Bulldog offense, the key, as always, is Piatkowski. If he can sustain the success he’s had to start the season, the Bulldogs will be tough to beat in conference play. With 911 yards passing after three games, Piatkowski is well on his way to shatter last year’s record-breaking season.
The running game is looking to bounce back after last week’s struggles and may have found a perfect opponent in Morehead State, which allowed 457 yards on the ground to St. Francis.
Defensively, the defensive line is looking to make a massive improvement after last week’s performance (the starters totaled six total tackles between them)and get back to what they do best: pressure the quarterback. Senior Brandon Coleman, fifth-year senior Anthony Gianaras and company are ready to wreak havoc in the Eagle backfield.
Special teams looks to continue their steady improvement, especially in the punting game as freshman punter Jeremy Stein looks to continue his adjustment to college football and the return team seeks to find new life after struggling so far this season.
Conference games are always tough, but the Bulldogs are looking to get back into form and start their defense of the PFL championship.