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Drake Football takes opening game loss to North Dakota State

In several ways, starting off their season against North Dakota State was an unlucky draw for the Drake University Football team. 

While the harsh 56-14 loss that Drake took away from the Fargodome may seem like a waste of time at first glance, the learning opportunities it gave Drake’s players day one will pay huge dividends down the line. 

In the days leading up to the game, head coach Todd Stepsis alluded to the sheer strength of a team like North Dakota. 

“You can kind of take that experience, of the speed and power and take that with you,” Stepsis said, “I know what the best of the best feels like, how can I replicate that in my game.”

Drake ultimately failed to put up much of a fight, allowing over 300 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns on the day. At one point in the game, North Dakota scored 14 points straight without their offense stepping on the field, scoring on a blocked field goal and punt return. 

Altogether, Drake’s offense put up just over 200 yards offensively and 14 total points. This came after Stepsis put an emphasis on Drake needing to improve offensively to keep up with the strength their defense showed last season. 

“No matter how good the defense is, if you can’t put the ball in the endzone you’re going to have a hard time in this game,” Stepsis said. 

One highlight for the team offensively was Sophomore running back Dorian Boyland, who racked up 70 rushing yards on 14 carries, averaging 5 yard per carry. On top of this, Boyland caught 2 passes for 6 yards and a touchdown, making an impression on an offense lacking production this past Saturday. 

Defensively, Drake struggled. They failed to force a turnover and let up 5 total touchdowns, allowing North Dakota to push up and over the 50-point mark in the second half. 

As for North Dakota, highlights came with ease, as they had 5 separate players take the ball into the endzone offensively, not mentioning the blocked field goal and punt return touchdown late in the second half. 

North Dakota’s head coach Matt Entz was excited for his team, citing the success they had in all three phases of the game in the postgame press conference. 

“We scored 56 points, I’ll take that. We scored in about every imaginable way that there is,” said Entz.

Above all, Drake head coach Todd Stepsis hopes to see the Bulldogs play with passion and purpose, and to continue to be who they are as a team. 

“Our expectation is to go up there and be who we are. I want to see us play with some passion on every single snap,” Stepsis said. 

Drake University will face off against Missouri here at home next weekend, hoping to right the ship as they move into the first leg of the 2022 season.  

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