Story by Mike Wendlandt
Photos by Joel Venzke
Hopes were high for the Drake University Bulldogs to become the first ever non-scholarship program to advance to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, but those dreams took a hit Thursday night as the Grand View Vikings defeated the Bulldogs 21-16.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was junior quarterback Andy Rice, who had a busy night throwing for 273 yards while connecting on 26 of his 50 passes.
He threw one touchdown to junior Michael Hudson late in the third quarter to give Drake its final points of the game but also threw one interception immediately after a Grand View turnover, which turned the momentum toward the Vikings for a final time in the game.
The game started with a bang as Grand View struck quickly with a 70-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Derek Fulton connecting with trusted target Brady Roland on the second play of the game.
That was the first of Roland’s 12 catches on the night for 173 yards.
Following the score, the game slowed down considerably, with the only other scoring in the quarter being a field goal by Drake freshman Benjamin Tesson from 20 yards out with 6:43 left in the quarter.
That lasted until the end of the half, as Drake went back to the locker room to regroup and attempt a comeback.
When the third quarter started, something clicked, and the Bulldogs’ offense picked up and started to assert their will on the Vikings defense, scoring with 8:07 left on a two-yard run to sophomore Gary Scott Jr. set up by Scott’s 45-yard run on a direct snap that closed the lead to 14-10.
However, late in the quarter, Grand View scored its final touchdown of the game with a one-yard run from running back Charles Badgett.
Drake ended the quarter with a bang on Rice’s pass to Hudson.
The drive was almost exclusively through the air, the big play being a 39-yard completion from Rice to senior receiver Nick Rosa.
The fourth quarter was a see-saw affair that saw the Bulldogs get stymied time and time again by big plays from the Grand View defense.
The key play of this quarter, and possibly the game, was a tipped pass that was intercepted by linebacker Zach Hollier of Grand View.
This occured two plays after Drake senior defensive back Dustin Davis blocked a field goal, which junior cornerback John Bloss returned to the Drake 46-yard line.
After one final fourth down stop with Drake desperately trying to move the ball down the field, the game was over and Grand View beat the Bulldogs for the first time in school history.
Head coach Chris Creighton wasn’t thrilled about the game, but he did have some positives to take from it, namely the play of junior linebacker Jon Hugunin and Rice.
He understood the main reason why the game turned out the way it did.
“You need to bring your best. That’s how it works. Grand View executed well,” Creighton said.
There were a few bright spots for the Bulldogs, however.
Hugunin currently leads the nation with 19 tackles after one game and senior safety Michael Ratelle had an interception to get his final year off to a strong note.
Many little mistakes cursed Drake to a defeat, but Hugunin put the game behind him immediately.
“Week two starts now,” Hugunin said. “It’s time to get ready for the rest of the year.”