Two weeks ago, the Drake Bulldogs opened their season with a tough match against No. 1 North Dakota State, falling 56-14 and struggling to find much consistency on both offense and defense.
While the team struggled against NDSU, their opening loss came with some bright spots on offense. The team managed the first touchdown of the game along with an impressive opening performance by sophomore running back Dorian Boyland, who garnered over 70 yards on the ground last week.
Heading into their first home game this past Saturday against Missouri S&T, the Bulldogs hoped to expand these offensive highlights against a far less intimidating defense in comparison to NDSU.
After all, the Miners had allowed 43 points against the South Dakota Mines Hardrockers football team. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs failed to do so, falling 14-17 at home.
Drake went scoreless in the first half, falling to a 14-point deficit in the third quarter before scoring their first touchdown through the air with quarterback Ian Corwin.
Corwin, plagued by poor weather conditions through most of the game, led the Bulldogs back to a tie game late in the fourth quarter. After failed attempts at late-game scores by both teams, the matchup moved into overtime.
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to win in overtime, but failed to score following a Missouri field goal to start things off, resulting in their second straight loss of the season.
Corwin finished the game with 177 pass yards on 40 attempts, 53 rush yards on 17 carries, two passing touchdowns and a single interception on the day.
Following a week in which head coach Todd Stepsis emphasized a need to improve the team’s ability to finish close games, the continued sloppiness of the Drake offense late in Saturday’s game is a cause for concern.
“Are we a team that is going to compete at every snap and whistle, execute at a high level, and, you know, unlike the fall, are we going to be able to finish some of these close games?” Stepsis said.
Boyland, the surprise sophomore star, weighed in the loss and relayed the message that the Drake offense has much to improve on.
“Our defense played amazing – we need to improve our offense,” said Boyland. “It was a very wet game that kept us from doing everything we wanted, but we can still get better and [learn] from our mistakes.”
Next week the Bulldogs will face off at the Idaho Vandals, hoping to bounce back from two straight losses. The Vandals have lost their last four games, failing to climb over the 20-point mark offensively in all but one of those games.
While the Drake defense will likely continue to impress against Idaho, the offense is running out of time to find consistency.