Story by Mike Wendlandt
With the help of 16 unanswered points, the Drake football team (4-4,3-2 PFL) defeated Valparaiso (1-7,1-4) 23-10.
Despite dominating the game defensively, the Bulldogs struggled against the Crusaders, even falling behind 10-7 early in the fourth quarter before their scoring run ended the game.
Offensively, junior Andy Rice continued his growth at quarterback, completing 27-of-41 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown.
Junior running back Gary Scott Jr. was the leading runner in yards, but it was freshman Conley Wilkins who stole the show.
Wilkins had a breakout performance, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Eric Saubert continued his rise to the top of the position with 104 yards receiving.
Defensively, junior John Hugunin again paced the team with 11 total tackles, including one of the team’s four sacks and a fumble recovery.
Cornerback Brad Duwe also picked off a pass, one of the three turnovers Drake forced on the day.
Late in the first quarter, a pass to Saubert gave a Drake the lead.
A Valparaiso field goal made it 7-3 after the first, second and third quarters, but that all changed in the fourth when the Crusaders struck.
A demoralizing 73-yard pass from Eric Hoffman to Tony Taibi gave them the lead, but after a special teams play in which Drew Ormseth downed a Cam Bohnert punt at the Crusader one-yard line, Drake took over.
Wilkins scored twice sandwiched around a Bohnert field goal, and Drake ended the game on a high note and stayed alive in the PFL race.
The Bulldogs move on from here and look toward next week when Morehead State visits Drake Stadium.
Kickoff for that game is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.