BY JD PELEGRINO
The Drake Bulldogs pull off another close one against Davidson, emerging victorious by a score of 17-12. Three weeks ago, the Dogs had a bye week. Two weeks ago, they won over Marist and last week another close win.
With quarterback Grant Kraemer sidelined due to a knee injury, backup quarterback Sam Hefner got the start against Davidson. Hefner threw 11 for 24, managing a total of 94 yards. The offense relied heavily on running backs Brock Reichardt and Tyler Updegraff. Reichardt carried the ball 19 times for 106 yards and a touchdown. Updegraff had 10 touches for 20 yards with no touchdowns.
Although the offense managed to put up decent numbers in terms of run game, the passing game missed Kraemer’s 300 plus yards and his lack of presence on the field was noticed. Defense and special teams played a stellar game, keeping the Bulldogs ahead throughout all four quarters. Safety Will Warner registered his third interception of the season last week and the first touchdown of his career after running it back 38 yards to the opposing end zone.
“I was just kinda in the right place for the tipped ball and spun out of it and once I had the ball in my hands, thought ‘Wow, I could possibly score on this one,’” Warner said.
The defense was “the rock” of the Bulldogs’ team in the game and worked together really well to make it easier for the offense, according to Warner.
With a win against Davidson, this propels the Bulldogs to 5-3 on the season with only one loss in conference. The Bulldogs’ conference record rests at 4-1. There are three games remaining in the regular season, and with the conference championship within reach, the Bulldogs will head to San Diego to face the University of San Diego Toreros (6-2, 5-0 in conference).
San Diego is currently in first place in the Pioneer Football League, but only beating the Bulldogs by one game overall and in conference. Many members of the Drake football team have cited this game as the potential PFL championship game. The Bulldogs have no room to lose, as one more loss would knock them out of the running for playoffs.
“It really is just a big game that we really need to all focus up and give it everything we’ve got, just like every week,” said Warner. “It will be a tough game.”
After San Diego, the Bulldogs finish off the season with Campbell (5-4) and Jacksonville (5-3), two of the teams that are threatening Drake’s shot at the conference championship.
The Toreros will host the Bulldogs at Torero Stadium this Saturday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. Every game matters for the Bulldogs and a win against San Diego could be exactly what Drake needs to make the final push against their final two opponents. The Bulldogs will not play again at home until Saturday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m against Jacksonville to finish off the regular season.