Photo: Luke Nankivell
The Drake football team used a late offensive push to overcome a 24-point deficit en route to a 34-27 overtime win over Marist on Saturday at Drake Stadium.
“I’m really fired for our team right now,” head coach Chris Creighton said in a Drake athletics press release. “This was a football and a life lesson. You find yourself in positions where it’s hard to believe, and our football team believed they were going to win. There’s deep power in that.”
Saturday’s victory lifted the first-place Bulldogs to 5-0 in the Pioneer Football League. Marist fell to sixth in the standings and is now 1-3 in PFL competition.
Offensive slips plagued Drake early on, and the Bulldogs faced a 27-3 Marist lead late in the third quarter.
Then, fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski sparked Drake’s offensive spree with a 22-yard touchdown toss to sophomore wide receiver Grahm Butler. The duo of Piatkowski and Butler connected one play later for the two-point conversion. Butler totaled 72 yards.
The Bulldogs continued their offensive blitz thanks to a three-and-out triggered by the Drake defense. Drake charged down the field to close the gap at 27-19 on a 10-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Gary Scott Jr.
Piatkowski completed Drake’s drive with another two-point conversion on a toss to senior wide receiver Joey Orlando.
Drake evened the scoreboard at 27-all as Piatkowski connected with Orlando for the touchdown and found senior tight end Kevin Marshall to complete the two-point conversion.
As regulation wound down, Drake gave itself a chance to take the lead. The Bulldog offense reached the 4-yard line before giving freshman kicker Cam Bohnert a 22-yard field goal attempt. With the clock ticking under 10 seconds, Bohnert’s try flew wide right, sealing Drake’s first 2012 overtime.
Scott opened overtime with a statement, scoring on a 2-yard run. He registered 90 yards on 19 carries plus two touchdowns on the day.
The Bulldog defense capped Saturday’s 34-27 victory with two key sacks down the home stretch. Fifth-year senior linebacker Tyler Moorehead registered a sack on fourth down to complete Drake’s comeback win.
Moorehead’s gutsy sack caught Creighton’s attention.
“It’s always a team effort but Tyler Moorehead is one of our leaders,” Creighton said. “I think he got in there and got that sack at the end. He’s another special player, and everyone hears him loud and clear by the way that he plays.”
Drake’s late comeback wasn’t Saturday’s only headline, though. Piatkowski continued his record-breaking ways, stretching his total touchdown tosses to 68 to surpass Ira Vandever. Piatkowski went 34-for-52 with 373 yards.
Creighton lauded Piatkowski’s performance.
“No one will ever know how good Mike (Piatkowski) is,” Creighton said. “You can look at stats all you want — but given the game that he called — he’s a great quarterback.”
The Bulldogs have a bye on Saturday before facing Dayton on Nov. 3 in Dayton, Ohio.