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Football Unable To Rally From Early Deficit In 45-22 Loss To Grand View

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: August 30, 2014
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DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake University football team fought against an early deficit before ultimately falling to crosstown foe Grand View, 45-22, in Saturday’s season opener at Drake Stadium.

The Bulldogs (0-1) and Vikings (1-0) met for the fifth time in the series before a crowd of 7,248, the biggest Drake Stadium crowd since 2007. The Vikings earned their second win all-time against the Bulldogs thanks largely to a 28-0 first-quarter lead.

“We can’t come out and play like that in the first quarter, especially against a talented team like Grand View,” said first-year Drake head coach Rick Fox. “Now we fought hard and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys, and we started to show the way we were capable of playing. We needed to get the ball in endzone a couple of times when we were close, but we can’t dig ourselves that kind of hole.”

Grand View racked up 518 yards of total offense in the win as quarterback Derek Fulton threw for 293 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 123 yards on 18 carries.

“Offensively, their quarterbacks are so good,” Fox said. “They both can run and do things with the ball in their hands and they distribute the ball so well that it’s tough to defend someone that has so many weapons.”

The Bulldogs were led by Eric Saubert’s (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) seven catches for 80 yards while Ryan McKeever (Omaha, Neb.) ran for 86 and Conley Wilkins (Overland Park, Kan.) had two touchdowns in addition to his 62 yards rushing. John Hugunin (Oswego, Ill.) led the Drake defense with 10 stops, seven of them solo.

Grand View dominated the opening quarter, outgaining the Bulldogs 252-18 yards in total offense to open up a 28-0 lead. Drake appeared to have early momentum, forcing a Grand View three-and-out on the Vikings’ first possession and blocking the ensuing punt. However, the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize and punted the ball right back to the Vikings. Seven plays and 86 yards later Grand View found the endzone on a 16-yard pass from Fulton to Jackson Petz.

The Vikings then scored on three of their next four possessions, the first coming a 56-yard pass from Fulton to Brady Roland and then a 35-yard strike to Davion Hurst. The Vikings closed out the first half with a 3-yard dive from Dorian Ballentine on a drive keyed by an Nick Bush interception.

Drake added points early in the second quarter on a 1-yard dive from Wilkins to cap a 13-play, 69-yard drive kept alive by Grand View penalties. Drake’s defense got two more stops before the Vikings tacked on another score on a 45-yard interception return from Adam Wenck to make the score 35-7 at halftime.

The momentum shifted briefly in the third quarter as the Bulldogs took the ball 73 yards on their first possession and scored on a Wilkins run from six yards out. Wilkins rushed for 32 yards on the drive before finding the endzone to make the score 35-14 in favor of Grand View.

Unfortunately, the Vikings answered with a field goal to extend their lead and added a sack on the next Bulldog possession to end the quarter. On Drake’s first play from scrimmage of the fourth quarter, McKeever uncorked a 50-yard run to put the Bulldogs into Viking territory. Ten plays later quarterback Andy Rice (Stevens Point, Wis.) found a wide open Andrew Yarwood (South Elgin, Ill.) in the endzone. A Wilkins two-point conversion shifted the momentum back in the Bulldogs’ favor at 38-22.

An on-side kick caught the Vikings off guard and set up the Bulldogs on the Grand View 48-yard line in hopes of staging a comeback. Unfortunately for Drake, that drive stalled and Grand View answered with a scoring drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown strike from Fulton to Roland to account for the final score with 4:54 left in the game.

The Bulldogs continue their season next weekend when they host Truman State at Drake Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.

“There’s no significant changes we need to make, we just have to understand that we have to come to play four quarters,” Fox said heading into the week of preparation. “No one was taking it easy, but tonight we learned how much heart you have to play this game with.”

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