On Sept. 16 at 1 p.m., the Drake Bulldogs and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits traveled to Target Field in Minneapolis for what was expected to be one of the most important games of the season.
For any college team, it is a big deal to play on a professional turf, let alone professional bases. With Target Field painted and ready for a rumble, both teams kicked off a game that had no shortage of scoring.
Only three minutes into the game, Bulldogs quarterback Luke Bailey darted a 35-yard pass to the end zone to wide receiver Colin Howard, scoring the first touchdown of the game. With a strong start just minutes after kickoff, the game looked promising for the Bulldogs — an outlook that didn’t last long.
At halftime, Drake sat down facing a 35-7 deficit. During this break, the team was able to talk and establish their plan for the rest of the game.
However, South Dakota’s lead would only grow throughout the rest of the game, and for many Bulldogs fans watching in Des Moines, the game likely didn’t stay on for long. The Jackrabbits were able to jump past the Bulldogs by another 35 points in the second half, leaving the final score at 70-7 for South Dakota State.
This game may not have ended how Drake wanted, but the team is looking to move past it and think ahead to the coming week’s challenges.
“Going into the game, we knew all of the weapons they had and how to defend against them,” running back Javon Murry said. “Today, we just didn’t execute to the best of our ability. Going into a bye week, we have the extra time to regroup and get ready to go into conference play. The goal we set at the beginning of the entire season is still intact — winning the [Pioneer Football League] championship, and we know we have the athletes to accomplish what we set out to do. We just have to come together and get the job done.”
With a bye week this upcoming weekend, it will be important for the Bulldogs to capitalize off of this break and get back to the practice turf to be ready for the beginning of Pioneer Football League play.
“Today’s loss was tough for sure, but this team is resilient and will bounce back. We have a bye week, so we will use this time to learn and improve before we enter into conference play,” defensive lineman Duke Frye said.
There is no doubt that the team has some work to do following a 63-point loss, but they’ll have an extra weekend to get ready for their next game, where the Bulldogs will travel to Kentucky to battle it out with Morehead State on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m.