Football Blows Past Dayton, 36-10, on Senior Day
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University football team scored 30 unanswered points, including 21 points in a 4:22 stretch in the third quarter, to power its way past the Dayton Flyers, 36-10, Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium.
Junior quarterback Andy Rice (Stevens Point, Wis.) was 19-of-30 passing for 351 yards and four total touchdowns – two passing and two rushing – for the Bulldogs (6-4, 5-2 PFL).
Rice and the offense’s afternoon came against a Dayton (6-4, 4-2 PFL) defense that was giving up less than 200 yards per game passing coming into the game. Freshman running back Conley Wilkins (Overland Park, Kan.) rushed for 107 yards on 18 attempts, for the first 100-yard rushing game by a freshman in Drake history. Fifth-year senior Nick Rosa (Owasso, Okla.) caught nine passes for 185 yards and one touchdown to lead the receiving corps in his final game at Drake Stadium on a ‘Senior Day’ that saw the Bulldogs honor its 16 seniors
Defensively, John Hugunin (Oswego, Ill.) had seven total tackles and one forced fumble to anchor a unit that forced six turnovers on the afternoon to tee up the offense. Fifth-year senior Mike Ratelle (Edina, Minn.) had six total tackles and an interception.
On the opening drive of the second half with Drake holding a 13-10 lead, the Bulldogs drove deep into Flyer territory, due largely in part to completions of 26 and 11-yards to sophomore Eric Saubert (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) and a 14-yard rush from junior Gary Scott, Jr. (Forsyth, Ill.), but were unable to finish the drive with a touchdown. Sophomore Cam Bohnert (Edmond, Okla.) split the uprights to extend Drake’s lead, 16-10, on his 38-yard field goal.
Late in the third quarter, Drake extended its lead to 23-10, on a 92-yard completion from Rice to Rosa. The 14-second drive was the second quickest score in school history and tied for the third longest completion in school history. The longest completion is 98-yards, which was set by current assistant coach, Jeff Martin, in 1976 against New Mexico State.
Momentum continued in the Bulldogs’ favor as Drake forced a fumble on the following Dayton drive, and promptly scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass to junior Grahm Butler (Brock, Neb.) put the Bulldogs up, 29-10, with time still remaining in the third quarter. After Drake had the second quickest drive in school history earlier, the strike to Butler became the fourth quickest score with the two-play, 38-second drive.
The Bulldogs’ weren’t finished scoring in the third quarter, either. With eight seconds left on the clock, Hugunin forced a fumble at the Dayton one-yard line, which was recovered for a touchdown by sophomore Caz Zyks (Carpentersville, Ill.), giving Drake a 36-10 lead at the end of the third frame.
After only having 109 total yards in the first half, the Drake offense exploded for 409 yards in the second half, the majority of which came through the air, to finish with a season-high 518 yards of offense.
Luke Johnson was 18-for-37 for 214 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions for the Flyers. His top target was Ross Smith, who had seven receptions for 56 yards. Robert Washington was the top rusher for Dayton, gaining 72 yards on 14 carries.
Drake’s second-half explosion came following a first half that began ominously with the Flyers scoring on a 64-yard pass from Luke Johnson to Gary Hunter on their second play from scrimmage to take an early 7-0 lead.
After a few possessions to get the offense into gear, Drake capped a seven play, 57-yard drive with a touchdown sneak by Rice. The quarterback made consecutive plays, one on his feet, and one through the air, to put his offense in the red zone. The PAT was missed, and the Bulldogs still found themselves trailing, 7-6, with 7:53 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Blue and White took their first lead of the game with time running out in the second half on a drive that started with the Bulldogs recovering a fumble that was forced by senior Kolby Knuth (Appleton, Wis.) at the Dayton 16-yard line. Drake then used six plays, eating 2:15 from the clock, before Rice found the end zone for the second time of the day on his feet. Drake made the extra point, and led 13-10 at halftime.
Drake will travel next weekend to San Diego, Calif., to take on PFL co-leader San Diego in a game that has potential PFL title implications. Kickoff against the Toreros is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST.