Drake Football responds to week three loss with big homecoming win
BY JD PELEGRINO
The Crusaders were leading the Bulldogs 6-0 after a one-yard rushing touchdown by Valparaiso running back Kyle Cartales. Both teams lined up for the PAT kick. The ball snapped, Valpo kicker Dimitrios Latsonas took off to boot the ball through the uprights. The Bulldogs jumped the snap perfectly and blocked the kick. Erin Morgan, a defensive end for the Bulldogs, picked up the ball at the 15-yard line and took off running to the opposing end zone. Slowly, Valpo players gained ground on Morgan. One Crusader hit him at the 20-yard line, but with a spin, Morgan was on his way. Finally, the Crusaders swarmed the Bulldog, tackling him at the 15-yard line after a 75-yard return following the PAT block.
“I was dead. I got to like the 50 and just was like my legs just couldn’t do this anymore,” Morgan said.
Morgan is a junior but was red-shirted his freshman year; he is in his second year of playing eligibility. Morgan rushes the quarterback from the outside of the defensive line opposite number 91 Mack Marrin.
Last weekend against Valpo was homecoming weekend for the Dogs. Fans, friends, family and prospective players filled the stands reaching nearly 3,000 spectators. The Bulldogs have emerged victorious in each of the last 14 contests with the Crusaders.
The atmosphere throughout the entirety of Saturday’s game outmatched every other game this season. The fans were loud, attendance remained consistent through all four quarters and the gameplay by the Bulldogs was fast and efficient.
The Bulldogs’ first two drives on offense were punctuated with touchdowns. The first drive went 11 plays for 74 yards with the second going seven plays for 91 yards. The tone-setting quarterback for the Bulldogs was responsible for both of these scores.
Quarterback Grant Kraemer had the “IT-Factor” in the week three Pioneer League matchup. The Bulldogs drove down the field 74 yards on their first drive for Kraemer to thrust himself into the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak. During the second drive, Kraemer completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Steven Doran. Kraemer completed 28 of 42 pass attempts for 445 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
“Man, I didn’t even know. The line did awesome, I mean, they didn’t allow one sack. I think it’s all a testament to them,” Kraemer said.
This season, Kraemer has broken a couple of records. Last year, he became the first quarterback since 2013 to throw five touchdowns or more in a game. Against Southwestern, just two games ago, he threw for six touchdowns. Last weekend against Valpo was the first game that Kraemer has thrown for over 400 yards in a game.
The Bulldogs spread the ball all around the offense on Saturday. Running backs Brock Reichardt and Taylor Murph punched in touchdowns. Receivers Devin Cates and Steven Doran also caught passes for touchdowns.
The defense limited the Crusaders to only 13 points, coming from two rushing touchdowns in the first half. Drake intercepted a platoon of Valpo quarterbacks three times throughout the game, getting one from each Will Warner, Kieran Severa and Erin Morgan.
The Drake Bulldogs (2-2) will head to the Butler Bulldogs (2-2) for the season’s week five matchup beginning at 1 p.m. Butler will be the second conference game of the year for Drake, and a convincing 38-13 win over Valparaiso should carry momentum to this upcoming Saturday.