PHOTO BY KATIE KURKA
The Bulldogs broke a streak last weekend that lasted for almost two years — that is losing games on the road.
The Bulldogs went out to Indiana to face Valparaiso University and won 35-21, bringing an end to the eight-game-long losing streak away from Drake Stadium.
In the first quarter, the Bulldogs were able to score on their first possession.Senior running back Conley Wilkins carried most of the weight during the 85-yard drive with a total of 45 rushing yards. The biggest play of the drive came when quarterback Grant Kraemer found wide receiver A.J. Spitz for a 29-yard reception moved the team into the red-zone.
Kraemer finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to redshirt senior tight end Eric Saubert in the end zone.
Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs pulled off some trickery to extend their lead to 14 when Wilkins completed an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Zach Zlabis in the end zone.
The Crusaders answered back with a touchdown of their own in a 12-play, 65-yard drive bringing the score to 14-7 with eight minutes left of play in the second quarter. The Bulldogs received two penalties during the drive for encroachment and pass interference.
Kraemer found Saubert twice more during the Bulldogs next possession. Wilkins added 16 rushing yards to his total. Then a 19-yard pass from Kraemer to wide receiver Keegan Gallery led the Bulldogs to a 21-7 lead with six minutes left in the half.
Valparaiso could not gain any ground during their next drive and ended their possession with a punt.
With the Bulldogs in possession and just over five minutes left to play in the second quarter, a pass from Kraemer was intercepted by Valparaiso defensive back Joey Martinez-Diaz and returned 49 yards for the defensive touchdown to bring the score to 21-14.
The Bulldogs were able to take back the momentum before halftime.Kraemer was able to find wide receiver Devin Cates for a 67-yard reception and then found Saubert in the end zone once again for a six-yard touchdown pass, bringing the score to 28-14.
Valparaiso was able to chip away at the 14-point deficit early on in the third quarter with a 55-yard touchdown-scoring drive. The Bulldogs were unable to convert in the third quarter, but still managed to drive the ball well.
Wilkins added 23 rushing yards to his total and junior Brock Reichardt added 31 of his own.
Going into the fourth quarter the Bulldogs opted to continue a rush heavy offensive strategy and it worked. Wilkins had 107 rushing yards in the quarter and scored the only touchdown of the final quarter for either team bringing the final score to 35-21. Wilkins matched his career-high of 205 rushing yards in Saturday’s game, with over half of them coming in the final quarter of play.
The Bulldogs return home to face San Diego University at Drake Stadium on Oct. 15 at 12:30 p.m.