DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University football team travels to Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend with a share of the Pioneer Football League championship hanging in the balance. With a win over Jacksonville, the defending PFL co-champion Bulldogs would secure a share of back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1931. Kickoff between Drake and Jacksonville is scheduled for noon, CST at the Dolphins’ D.B. Milne Field.
Drake put itself in control of its own destiny with a convincing 45-20 win over PFL leading Butler last weekend to hand BU its first conference loss of the season and tie Drake, Butler and San Diego atop the PFL standings with one loss each. Butler and San Diego do not face each other this season. However, Drake defeated both programs by a combined 53 points.
“Everybody knows, that if we win, we’re champions and if we don’t, we’re not,” head coach Chris Creighton said of this weekend’s pivotal game. “The truth of the matter is in the PFL, every game is a championships game because there’s no guarantee that you can lose and still be in it. This just happens to be our last championship game and we’re in a position to win a championship."
Standing in the way of that second consecutive title is a Jacksonville squad that has suffered just two PFL losses and boasts the PFL’s top defense by surrendering just 309.6 yards and 20.7 points per game. Offensively, the squad possesses a balanced attack and a running game that put up 333 yards against Campbell in last week’s win.
“Offensively they can throw it and they can run it, they’re very well coached,” Creighton said of Jacksonville. “We have to be ready for anything. Defensively they’re leading the league in a ton of different categories and are good from the front all the way to the back end. They pose a major challenge for us.”
The Bulldogs head to Florida with an offense that recorded 546 yards of offense in the win over Butler with 175 yards coming on the ground and 371 through the air. Meanwhile the defense allowed just 50 rushing yards and 303 total yards in the dominating win. However, as soon as the clock hit zero in the win over Butler, the focus immediately shifted to the season finale in Jacksonville, something that has been apparent in practices this week.
“I think that it’s hit our football team this is our last week,” head coach Chris Creighton said. “When you get that realization that you’ve worked so hard for this and have a few days left, you don’t take anything for granted. We’ve practiced hard and it’s been a good week.”