Photo: Drake University Football
The Bulldogs were subject to the vindictive fury of Mother Nature in last Saturday’s game in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. But Drake weathered the snowstorm to earn a 23-13 win at Marist to move to 7-2 on the season and 5-1 in the Pioneer Football League.
“We got off to a good start in the first half,” head coach Chris Creighton said in a Drake athletics press release. “I think our football team played really well, and we needed to. (With about) five minutes left in the first quarter you could see the snow coming, and obviously getting some points on the board before it got to a point where it might change how you play the game was important.”
Drake also took quite the journey to take on the Marist Red Foxes. It took two flights, one bus ride and 12 hours of traveling for the Bulldogs to get to New York.
“I’m really proud of our defense.It’s tough conditions, and you just don’t know how it’s going to be. They’re a tough football team that didn’t give up, so I’m really proud of our guys,” Creighton said. “I’m just proud of our team to come to a tough place against a good, well-coached, tough football team and to get a win. It’s been a good day for us.”
The Drake offense came out strong in the first half. At the break, the Bulldogs were up 17-0.
The first touchdown came in the first quarter with a 21-yard pass from senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski to senior wide receiver Drew Blackmon. In the second quarter, Piatkowski added a 22-yard touchdown pass to junior Joey Orlando.
Piatkowski completed 18 of 30 passes for 253 yards in the cold conditions. Fifth-year senior kicker Billy Janssen added a 32-yard field goal in the first half.
“At halftime I said, ‘We can’t be defensive, but we have to be smart,’” Creighton said. “But then I think my play-calling was pretty conservative early, and Marist proved that you can throw it in these conditions. We didn’t want to be defensive, but we wanted to be smart, so I think it did change a little bit how we did things in the second half.”
The Red Foxes rallied in the fourth quarter, scoring twice within six minutes to pull to 17-13.
The Bulldogs were able to block the second attempted extra point, making it the second blocked PAT of the season and the team’s eighth blocked kick overall. Drake has blocked three field goals, three punts and two PATs. Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were tied for second-most in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Fifth-year senior running back Patrick Cashmore took the ball into the end zone from 19 yards with 2:13 left in the game to seal the win for Drake.
“I think Chuck Swindoll said that 90 percent of life is attitude,” Creighton said. “So if it snows and you’re excited about it, that’s a good thing. Our team was. They were fired up about the snow.”
The Bulldogs are ready to complete the regular season with two important home games in the next two weeks. At 1 p.m. this Saturday at Drake Stadium, they will take on the Jacksonville Dolphins, who are undefeated and in first place in the PFL.
Then the team will close the season at 1 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Drake Stadium with a matchup against defending PFL champion Dayton.