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Football Set To Travel To No. 22 Indiana State

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: September 12, 2012
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The Drake University football team gets its first road test of the season Saturday when it faces its second straight ranked opponent in No. 22 Indiana State.

Kickoff at ISU's Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CDT and will be aired on 1350-AM KRNT. The Bulldogs are anticipating another tough challenge against an offense that has rushed for more than 200 yards per game and is led by Shakir Bell's 133 yards per game.

"Indiana State is another really tall order," Drake head coach Chris Creighton said. "Their running back is sensational, but it's always an offensive line that's part of a great running attack. Then they spread the ball around and the defense is really good. It'll be a huge challenge in our first road test, but one that we're excited about."

ISU's running attack will face a defensive front that leads the nation in tackles for loss and sacks and is only giving up 128 yards per game on the ground.

"Those sacks start with the defensive line and our backs have been doing well covering and giving them time to get to the quarterback," linebacker Travis Merritt said.

In addition to the challenge on the field, the team will also have to adapt to being away from campus for the first time since fall camp started. But, with a veteran-laden squad, the performance is not expected to be lacking.

"It's definitely different on the road with a long trip," Merritt said. "Some of the things we have to be ready for is making sure that when you step off the bus, that you're focused and ready to flip that switch."

The offense will also be aiming to flip that switch after Mike Piatkowski threw for 311 yards against No. 4 Montana State with 100 yards of that going to tight end Kevin Marshall. Piatkowski - who needs just 359 yards to become the program's all-time leading passer - and his offensive line are also charged with trying to jumpstart a running game that was stymied by Montana State.

Following Saturday's contest, the defending Pioneer Football League champions will begin defense of their title at home against Morehead State on Sept. 22. Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT.

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