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Bulldogs top Butler 24-14 on the road

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The Drake Bulldogs emerged from the dog pile with a victory over the Butler Bulldogs, 24-14. Drake won its Pioneer Football League opener and is now 3-1 on the season.

Drake erupted early in the game and cracked the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter when fifth-year senior running back Patrick Cashmore scored on a 6-yard run, but the extra point by fifth-year senior kicker Billy Janssen was blocked by the Butler defense.

Cashmore had 115 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the day.

Butler responded with a touchdown early in the second quarter. However, the Bulldog defense played well to hold Butler to just seven points in the first half.

“Our D-line had a big day,” head coach Chris Creighton said. “(Butler QB Andrew Huck) is a really talented quarterback. We got some pressure on him, and when we did, he wasn’t as good as when he doesn’t have pressure. That’s true of every quarterback, so they really stepped up big.”

The Drake defense rose to the occasion against a tough Butler offense with three sacks and two interceptions. Fifth-year senior cornerback and captain Michael Lahart rejoined his teammates after an injury for three tackles and one pass break-up in his first game of the season.

“It was unbelievable,” Lahart said. “After the weeks and weeks of rehabbing and working for this moment, words can’t explain how good it felt to be out there running around with those guys. The first couple of snaps were tough, just getting back in the speed of things, but overall it was so much fun. I haven’t had a chance to think about that a whole lot, but it definitely feels good to finally get a win here. My first two years playing we lost games here when we were playing for championships, so it’s nice to get back and get a win on their home field.”

Creighton applauded Lahart’s return.

“Michael has worked incredibly hard to come back and to play,” he said. “I haven’t even asked him how he feels, but I see him walking right now and he seems like he’s doing OK, so it’s just a blessing that’s he’s able to come back and play.”

After a defensive stop in the second quarter, the next two Drake possessions resulted in a touchdown each. Senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski connected with junior tight end Kevin Marshall from three yards out, and then the QB scored on the ensuing two-point conversion. Cashmore scored on a 14-yard run to put Drake up 21-7.

Drake’s offense was averaging a total of 49.3 rushing yards before this game, in which they had a total of 165 yards on the ground.

Piatkowski completed 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards and moved into third place on the Drake’s career passing list. He now has a total of 5,033 career passing yards.

During the third quarter, the two teams struggled to gain the upper hand. Drake scored the only points of the quarter with a field goal. Butler fired up its offense in the fourth quarter for a late push. They scored in the fourth with 1:25 left in the game.

Drake intercepted the ball to put a stop to Butler’s last late attack.

“This is a big game for both teams,” Creighton said. “We beat a really good team today, a classic football team, and they’re going to do well throughout this season. I think they’re in the same situation we are, where we’re good football teams, but our league is really good, so it’s just going to be a week-in, week-out battle, probably a lot like this.”

Next Saturday, the Bulldogs take on the Campbell Fighting Camels for their homecoming game at 1 p.m.

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