by JD PELEGRINO
The Drake football team has been riding out a wave of highs lately, soaring to its third straight win over the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 12. Drake began the season with a sluggish 0-3 start all against non-conference opponents, but has since then figured out how to run an effective offense and get back on track with last year’s No. 1 defense in the PFL.
Drake’s dominant special teams unit set the tone of the game by making a clutch play on the game’s opening kickoff. Drake kicked the ball off to Butler’s Kavon Samuels. Samuels took the ball out 11 yards to the Butler 14-yard line, but redshirt-junior linebacker, Jacob Lewis was there for Drake and knocked the ball out. Sophomore linebacker Declan Carr jumped on the ball, giving Drake a first down at the Butler 14.
“Success came from all three aspects of the game,” Fifth-year running back Drew Lauer said. “Starting off with a Kickoff that we recovered inside the 20 started us off with a great field position that we were able to take advantage of up front running the ball.”
Drake’s offense led by freshman quarterback Ian Corwin, was nothing shy of outstanding in this contest. Lauer, carried the ball four times for 7 yards, finishing off the drive with the game’s first touchdown. Corwin found wide receiver Blake Curtain for a 5 yard gain as well.
With a 7-0 lead, Drake kicked the ball off to Butler. Two stagnant drives each way for Butler and Drake, awarded Butler the ball back. Nine plays and 80 yards later, the Butler Bulldogs scored their first points of the game after tight end Joey Lindstrom found wide receiver Johnny O’Shea for 34 yards for a TD. Butler tied Drake 7-7 as time expired at the end of the first quarter.
The Drake Bulldogs went on to score 35 unanswered points to win the game by a score of 42-7. Both Drake’s offense and defense showed up for the conference matchup and performed at a high level. The rest of this story will break down the rest of Drake’s key moments throughout the game.
- Lauer notches his second TD of the game with a 22-yard pass from Corwin, five minutes into the second quarter. This score gave Drake a 14-7 lead.
- Lauer scores a hat trick for Drake, rushing in a 2-yard TD run to give Drake a 21-7 lead. Lauer had 5 carries for 33 yards on the drive. The possession also saw a drive-propelling first down catch by fifth-year tight end Devin Cates for 12 yards on third-and-2.
- Drake’s defense forces five Butler punts in the first half and only allowed one score.
- Cates owns the second half. The 6-foot-5-inch TE hauled in all four of his targets for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns on Drake’s first two offensive possessions of the second half. All four passes were over 10 yards. The scored gave Drake a 35-7 lead over Butler.
- RB Jacob Clay scores his first TD of the game on a 1-yard rush. Lauer pounded the ball all drive, but it was Clay who came in the get the TD to increase Drake’s lead to its resting score 42-7.
- PFL standout safety Will Warner seals the game off with a 14-yard interception, returned to the Butler 14-yard line.
Drake pulls out its third conference win of the season in preparation for Morehead St. Corwin completed 25-of-32 passes for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns. He averaged 8.3 yards-per-pass and didn’t turn the ball over once.
Lauer had an unbelievable game for Drake, encompassing a season-high 124 yards on 26 carries. He scored 2 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown, giving him a hat trick. Clay also had a day for himself. He had 11 carries for 29 yards and 1 TD.
The dominant Drake receiving corps. was led by Cates. Cates tallied 9 receptions for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns. He averaged 11.4 yards-per-reception in the win. Behind him were Blake Curtin and Alex Bray who combined for 8 receptions for 105 yards.
On defense/special teams, Declan Carr recovered the opening kickoff fumble by Butler’s Kavon Samuels and Warner intercepted the late pass from Butler QB Sam Brown. Drake’s defense forced six Butler punts and one turnover on downs in the 42-7 win over the rival Bulldogs. Drake now sits on top of the PFL standings alongside the San Diego Toreros who are also 3-0 in conference.
“To win conference, we need to focus one game at a time,” Lauer said. “1-0 is the goal every week and in this league if you over look any one, that might be the game you lose focus. Other than that, every play we need to fight, believe and trust. That’s been our formula since conference has started and we look forward to continuing that the rest of the season.”
Next week Drake (3-3, 3-0 conf.) will host Morehead St. (4-3, 2-1 conf.) at Drake Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.