by JD PELEGRINO
All good things come to an end: Drake football edition. After beginning conference play 4-0 this season, the Bulldogs traveled to San Diego to battle the other undefeated conference opponent. The Toreros were too much for the Bulldogs to handle on both sides of the ball. Drake’s offense was stopped up for most of the game, finding little success on the ground and through the air. The defense could not stop both Torero running backs or opposing quarterback Reid Sinnett. In a crucial game for Drake, they were edged out 49-7.
San Diego received the opening kickoff, but didn’t score on the drive after the Bulldogs forced a four-and-out. The Bulldog’s freshman QB, Ian Corwin, stepped out onto the field and threw a pick on the first offensive play of the game. That play very much symbolizes the struggles by the Drake offense throughout the game. San Diego took over and marched down the field, so that Torero RB Joseph Binda Jr. could walk in a 1-yard touchdown, his first of three scores. The Toreros scored 5, first-half touchdowns to put Drake out of the game entering the second half. San Diego led Drake 35-0 at half and Corwin threw 2 picks for Drake.
In the second half, Drake’s Victor Gergens sacked Sinnett, causing the QB to lose the ball. Gavin Dineen for Drake jumped onto the ball to set the offense up to score their only TD of the game. Beginning the drive on the San Diego 6-yard line RB Cross Robinson took 3 handoffs for 4 total yards. Corwin took the ball into the end zone on a 2-yard run. By the end of the game, Corwin would throw another pick and Drake would fall to San Diego 49-7.
Corwin completed just 14-of-32 passes for a measly 43 percent. He averaged 5 yards-per-pass accumulating 159 yards through the air with 3 interceptions. Drake’s star running back Drew Lauer was a non-factor in this game. He rushed 13 times for 38 yards, averaging just 2.9 yards-per-carry. To add more depth and sophistication to the offense, Drake turned to fellow running back Cross Robinson. Robinson didn’t have the best day either. He handled 12 carries for 34 yards, averaging 2.8 yards-per-carry, virtually the same as Lauer.
Looking to the outside of the field, both wide receiver, Shane Feller, and tight end, Devin Cates, had 5 receptions each for 88 and 67 yards respectively. San Diego posed 476 total yards to Drake’s 260. Sinnett completed 23-of-28 passes for 281 yards and 1 touchdown.
San Diego played Drake like Drake has played its conference opponents to this point in the season. The Torero defense forced three turnovers, a standard that the Drake defense has for itself each game, two running backs gained over 80 yards each with multiple touchdowns, and WR Dalton Kincaid caught 5 passes for 117 yards and a score.
Drake has three games remaining, before a conference champion is crowned. Last season, San Diego went an undefeated 8-0 and captured their tenth league championship and fourth straight. The Bulldogs host Jacksonville and Dayton at home in the next two weeks and then head to Davidson in the season finale. For Drake to win a conference title, San Diego needs to lose one game and the Bulldogs have to win out.
Drake is at home on Saturday against Jacksonville. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.