Photo by Luke Nankivell
After an impressive Homecoming victory on its home turf at Johnny Bright Field, the Drake Bulldogs are traveling to Kentucky to take on the Morehead State Eagles this Saturday at 12 p.m. The Eagles are 1-1 in the Pioneer Football League after a close loss last weekend against the San Diego Toreros at home.
The Bulldogs and Eagles haven’t faced off since 2008 in a game that ended with a Drake win. Their series consists of six games, which the Bulldogs have triumphed in four. Whichever team possessed home field advantage has won each respective matchup.
Both conference games that the Bulldogs have played this season have been largely successful. Drake defeated Butler 24-14 on Sept. 24 and then took down Campbell 31-14 last Saturday.
The Bulldog-Eagle contest is going to be a struggle; both teams have impressive offenses and defenses.
Drake running back coach Bill Charles noted the reasons for the jump in rushing yards.
“The first three opponents that we played were actually doing some different types of defenses where they’re doing a lot of stunting and things to take away the running game, so we reverted more to throwing the ball,” Charles said. “Obviously, these last two games we had more traditional defenses that allowed us to run the ball much better.”
Charles knows that the Morehead State offense will be tough for the Bulldog defense to penetrate.
“Our whole game plan has to be to not let them have the ball by having it ourselves, having long drives and putting points on the board,” he said.
Junior running back Trey Morse is also enthusiastic about the game.
“If we run our offense the way we’ve been running it – complete the passes, making runs, making good blocks – then we’ll get it done,” he said. “The offense as a whole has really been starting to gel and click really good lately, and as far as the running backs, the line has been blocking really well for us the past few games. It’s conference starting; everybody is a little more focused.”
The Drake defense has also shown its strength, with junior defensive end Brandon Coleman recording his seventh sack of the season against Campbell. The Bulldog defense held the Fighting Camels to only 14 points.
Both fifth-years seniors Michael Lahart and Stoy Hall were recognized for their exemplary careers. Lahart was announced as a candidate for the National Football Foundation’s National Scholar-Athlete Award and is a semi-finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation. Hall is the first Drake player to make the prestigious Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. He will be recognized at the 2012 Sugar Bowl.
Traveling has always been tough in football, but Charles knows that the Bulldogs have a great chance of beating the Eagles this Saturday.
“The strength is that we are a very mature team now,” Charles said. “We’ve had the experience of playing in these first three or four games and getting better each week. We now have a combination of passing and running that one feeds of the other. That gives us a lot more success.”
Morse said the team will be sure to keep mental mistakes at a minimum while on the road.
“We know we’re there to win the game,” Morse said. “I mean we have fun while we’re there, but usually traveling away we’re always pretty focused.”