Photos: Luke Nankivell
Fifth-year senior Mike Piatkowski set the all-time Drake passing record in the second quarter as Drake (2-2, 1-0 PFL) defeated Morehead State 28-25 on the strength of 21 fourth quarter points.
The Eagles and their spread offense came out running the ball effectively, scoring on a play action pass to Donte Sawyer on the opening drive of the game. Drake could not answer until the middle of the second quarter, responding to a fumble by quarterback Zach Lewis with a Piatkowski touchdown pass to senior Joey Orlando.
The second half was a tale of two quarters as Morehead State dominated the third quarter with 10 points, seven of which came after a Piatkowski interception. The fourth quarter, however, was all Drake, scoring on touchdown passes to sophomore J.T. Teague and senior Nick Rosa, and on a 14-yard scamper by sophomore Gary Scott, Jr. on fourth down that gave the Bulldogs a 10-point lead with four minutes to go.
Despite scoring a touchdown to narrow the lead to three, the game ended on an interception by fifth-year senior Tyler Moorehead with no timeouts remaining for Morehead State. After taking a knee, the game was over and Drake opened the Pioneer League Football season with a victory.
Piatkowski finished with 268 yards passing on 29-for-41, with three touchdowns and one interception. Scott emerged as the main running threat with 119 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Orlando led the receiving corps with eight receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.
“I worked on running hard just finishing the runs and making plays,” Scott said.
Defensively, the Bulldogs’ linebacker group took over, as sophomore Jon Hugunin and junior Travis Merritt combined for 30 tackles to go along with Morehead State’s clinching interception. Hugunin had the lone sack in the game, hitting Lewis on third down early in the second quarter.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that you have two playmakers on each side of you,” Merritt said.
Despite a sloppy game, the Bulldogs forced Morehead State into its share of miscues. Morehead committed 12 penalties and fumbled three times, with the last fumble leading to Drake’s first touchdown after fifth-year senior Anthony Gianaras recovered at the Eagles’ nine-yard line.
Next week, Drake hits the road to play the Campbell Fighting Camels for its first PFL road game of the season.