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Drake Hosts Dayton Saturday In Season Finale With PFL Title Implications

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: November 07, 2011
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Head Coach Chris Creighton has coached Drake to a 19-3 home record in his four seasons.
Courtesy: Chris Donahue
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Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

The Drake Bulldogs enter the final week of the regular season seeking a win to secure at least a share of the Pioneer Football League championship when they host Dayton (6-4, 4-3 PFL) on Saturday, Nov. 12. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at Drake Stadium. The Bulldogs (8-2, 6-1 PFL) have won three games in a row and nine consecutive at home, their longest streak since 1997-99. Standing in the way of Drake's fifth PFL title is a Flyers team that has won four consecutive games against the Bulldogs, and seven in a row in Des Moines, dating back to 1995.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: A Drake win would secure at least a share of the PFL title, pending results of the final two games for Jacksonville (6-3, 5-1 PFL) and San Diego (7-2, 5-1). Jacksonville hosts Butler Saturday while San Diego plays host to Marist, and the two then play one another on Nov. 19. A Drake win over Dayton, coupled with a loss each by Jacksonville and San Diego would give Drake the title outright. The Bulldogs have won or shared four PFL titles since 1993 when the league began play: 1995, 1998, 2000 (co-champions) and 2004.

MEDIA LINKS:  2011 YEARBOOK/MEDIA INFO    STATS (2006-11)    ONLINE ROSTER       

TOP NOTES FOR THE WEEK:

--Drake leads the PFL in rushing defense (73.5, 4th FCS), scoring defense (18.2, 11th FCS), tackles for loss (8.0, 13th FCS), yards per play allowed (4.5), Red Zone defense (65.6%) and time of possession (31:11); ranks 2nd in total defense (301.9, 10th NCAA FCS), sacks (3.5, 5th FCS) and passing efficiency (148.78, 16th PFL); and 3rd in passing efficiency defense (117.9).

--RB Patrick Cashmore (35 att., 160 yds., 2 TDs) is this week's PFL co-Offensive Player of the Week and punter/kicker Billy Janssen (48.7 punt avg., 83-yd. punt, 1-1 FG, 4-4 PAT) is Special Teams POW. It is Janssen's second award of the season and brings Drake's overall total to seven for the season. Janssen ranks 4th in the nation (No. 1 PFL) in punting (43.96).

--Janssen is this week's National Punter of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards and a National All-Star by College Sporting News.

--QB Mike Piatkowski, Drake's No. 2 all-time passer, ranks 20th in the FCS in total offense (253.2). He leads the PFL (12th FCS) in passing efficiency (151.2) and has three 300-yard passing games. Piatkowski has thrown 21 TDs in his last nine games and 8 in his last three.

--Piatkowski has career bests for passing yards (2,649) and TDs (21) with one game to play.

--DE Brandon Coleman leads the team with a career-high 11 sacks and is tied for seventh in the FCS (3rd PFL) at 1.1/game.

--LB Tyler Moorehead leads Drake in tackles (72) and is 2nd in the PFL (16th FCS) in tackles for loss (1.7/game)

--Drake has won nine straight home games, its longest streak since 1997-99 (9). A win this week would match the longest home winning streak since 1995-97 (10). From 1994-97 Drake went 14 games without a loss at home (13-0-1).


ONLINE RESOURCES: GoDrakeBulldogs.com
Facebook-Drake Athletics  |  Facebook-Drake Football  |  Twitter-@DUBulldogs
VIDEO
: HC Chris Creighton | RB Patrick Cashmore | CB Michael Lahart | RB Trey Morse | DT John Sawhill | QB Mike Piatkowski

RADIO/TV: The game will be broadcast on KRNT 1350 AM with Sean Neugent handling the play-by-playFans also can listen to the game free via the web at www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com, or purchase a subscription for video.

TICKETS: Fans may purchase tickets to Saturday's game by calling the Drake Ticket Office at 515-271-DOGS (3647), or going online to www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.

HEAD COACH CHRIS CREIGHTON: Drake football is in its fourth season under the direction of head coach Chris Creighton, who has compiled a 29-14 record (.674) over his first four years, including victories in 27 of the Bulldogs' last 37 contests (.730). Creighton's .674 winning percentage is the best by a head coach in school history, and his home record is an astonishing 19-3 (864).

  • Creighton's 21 wins in his first three seasons were the most by a head coach in school history in his first three seasons at the helm. His total was two greater than that of Warren Gaer (1949-51), who compiled a record of 19-6-2 in his first three seasons.
  • He ranks No. 20 in career winning percentage (.765) among all head coaches with at least five seasons at four-year colleges, entering this week's game with a record of 124-38 in his 15th season of coaching.
  • Creighton was named a 2011 winner of the Giant Steps Award presented by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports as part of National Student-Athlete Day on April 6, 2011. Creighton, awarded for the Coaching category, was one of just five 2011 winners of the Giant Steps Award, given annually to individuals who use sport to positively affect social change, actualizing the mission of the NCAS. The awards honor student-athletes, athletic administrators, civic leaders, coaches, parents, organizations, and other individuals who demonstrate an outstanding ability to manage life on and off the field, and who demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of society.
  • His Wabash teams won North Coast Athletic Conference titles in four of his seven seasons at the Division III school in Crawfordsville, Ind.
  • In four seasons at Ottawa (Kansas) his teams won two Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference titles (1997, 2000), its first two since 1972.
  • An All-America quarterback at Kenyon (Ohio) College, Creighton led the school to its only North Coast Athletic Conference title in 1989 and was named conference player of the year. He was inducted into the Kenyon College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Creighton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1991 and a master's degree from Concordia (Ill.) University in 1993.
  • Creighton was hired Dec. 22, 2007, as the 25th head coach in the history of Drake football.

Chris Creighton's Head Coaching Career:

Drake University                          2008-present                                  29-14 (.674)
Wabash College                         2001-07                                          63-15 (.808)
Ottawa (Kansas) University         1997-2000                                         32-9 (.780)
Totals                                       15th season                                  124-38 (.765)

PREGAME TAILGATE: All fans are invited to enjoy the pregame tailgate activities at Drake Stadium. The tailgate will open in the west lots of the stadium at 11 a.m. Saturday. A variety of activities and a Kids Zone provide fun for the whole family. A limited number of reserved parking passes are available; to request a pass call (515) 271-4003. All other parking is on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early. Charcoal grills and glass containers are prohibited.

DRAKE-DAYTON SERIES: Dayton leads 23-4 in a series that began in 1952. The Flyers have won the last four meetings overall, and seven in a row in Des Moines. The last Drake win in the series came in 2006 at Dayton (21-9), and the last at home was in 1995 (34-23). A Bulldogs win would be the first for head coach Coach Creighton against the Flyers.

ABOUT THE FLYERS: Feeding off a high-powered rushing offense, Dayton is 6-4, 4-3 in the PFL, and coming off a 31-28 loss to San Diego. The Flyers have recorded 1,890 rushing yards while holding opponents to just 974, and rank second in the PFL in both. Leading the imposing ground game is RB Taylor Harris, who has rushed for 899 yards and scored eight touchdowns with a 6.8 average per carry. Senior Luke Bellman leads Dayton's receiving core corps with 37 receptions for 485 yards and four touchdowns. Leading the way on defense is senior Devon Langhorst with 11.5 sacks, second-most in the PFL, and senior Steve Wirkus, whose four interceptions tie for the PFL lead.

BULLDOGS-FLYERS: THE LAST TIME (Nov. 6, 2010): In a storybook finish that left Bulldogs fans in shock, Dayton quarterback Steve Valentino's 37-yard pass found Luke Bellman in the end zone, lifting the Flyers to a 31-25 victory. Bellman's reception came with just one second remaining in regulation, capping off a desperate Dayton drive.  After a late field goal by Billy Janssen, Drake held a 25-24 lead with 1:22 remaining. After that, Drake's defense was unable to seal the deal. Leading the way on offense for the Bulldogs was receiver Joey Orlando with 5 receptions for 98 yards. Filling in for the injured Mike Piatkowski, sophomore quarterback Cody Seeger performed well, rushing for a fourth-and-one conversion on the Bulldogs' final drive. Linebackers Seth Hedman and Ben Morrison led the Bulldogs on defense with eight tackles apiece.

MEDIA PROCEDURES: To arrange interviews with Drake football players and coaches, please contact Assistant A.D./Athletic Communications Paul Kirk in advance (paul.kirk@drake.edu). Availability can be arranged either before or after practices, which generally run from 3:30-5:30 p.m. during a typical game week. Credential requests should also be directed to Kirk.

SIX BULLDOGS HAVE EARNED SEVEN PFL WEEKLY HONORS IN 2011: RB Patrick Cashmore earned co-Offensive Player of the Week for the first time and P/K Billy Janssen collected his second of the year for their roles in Drake's 31-24 defeat of Jacksonville (11/5). Cashmore rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, while Janssen booted an 83-yard punt, averaged 48.7, and was 4-4 on PATs, 1-1 on field goal attempts. LB Tyler Moorehead earned his first career player of the week honor for his three-sack performance at Marist (10/29), earning co-Defensive Player of the Week honors. RB Nathan Paddock was named PFL Offensive Player of the Week for games of Oct. 8 and  Janssen earned Special Teams Player of the Week off Drake's 41-26 win at Morehead State (10/8). QB Mike Piatkowski earned Offensive Player of the Week after setting an NCAA FCS record for single-game completion percentage (90.9%, 30-33) versus Campbell (10/1). It was Piatkowski's first such honor and the first time a Bulldog was named Offensive POW since Week 1 of 2007 (Cole Ingle). Piatkowski's honor came a week after DE Brandon Coleman was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week for his 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in Drake's 24-14 league-opening win at Butler Sept. 24.

EIGHT BULLDOGS HAVE EARNED 11 WEEKLY CFPA HONORS: Eight players have earned weekly recognition from the College Football Performance Awards with 11 awards in 2011: DE Brandon Coleman earned honorable mention recognition for Defensive Line Performer of the Week for the game at North Dakota (9/1) when he had 3.0 sacks...WR Drew Blackmon earned honorable mention vs. Grand View (9/10) when he tied his career with nine receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns...Versus Missouri S&T (9/17) the CFPA recognized K/P Billy Janssen for both kicking and punting (3-3 PAT; 2-2 FG; 47.0 ypp) and LB Tyler Moorehead for his 9 tackles, 1.0 sack, 3.0 tackles-for-loss and blocked punt...Drake's 31-14 defeat of Campbell (10/1) earned QB Mike Piatkowski recognition as national co-Quarterback of the Week (90.9% completions, 342 yards 3 TDs) and Janssen again as honorable mention kicker/punter (4-4 PAT; 1-1 FG; 48.0 yards per punt)...Janssen was named again after Drake's win at Morehead State (10/8), along with RB Nathan Paddock who was named honorable mention...DT John Sawhill was recognized with honorable mention status for his team-leading 8 tackles and a sack at San Diego (10/15)...Janssen was recognized for the third time, and first time as National Punter of the Week, for his 52.0-yard average and long of 70 yards on three punts in Drake's 50-0 win over Valparaiso (10/22)...Moorehead earned honorable mention again at Marist (10/29) for his 3-sack, 4.5-TFL, 1 FF performance...Janssen again was named National Punter of the Week by the CFPA after his 83-yard punt and 48.7-yard average vs. Jacksonville (11/5), while CB Michael Lahart earned honorable mention recognition at his position.

PIATKOWSKI'S RECORD-SETTING DAY: Mike Piatkowski broke the NCAA FCS single-game record for completion percentage (min. 30 comp.) in Drake's Oct. 1 win over Campbell, completing 30 of 33 passes, 90.9% (since broken). That topped the previous standard of 88.9% set by Appalachian State's Richie Williams vs. Furman, Oct. 9, 2004 (40-45). Piatkowski threw for a career-high 342 yards and tied his career best with 3 touchdowns to fuel the Bulldogs' 31-14 win, and earned his first PFL Offensive Player of the Week honor, along with National co-Offensive Player of the Week by The Sports Network/Fathead.com and National co-QB of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA).

PIATKOWSKI MOVES UP CAREER PASSING CHART: Drake QB Mike Piatkowski has climbed from seventh to second on Drake's career passing yards list this season, and now has 6,642. He began the year with 3,993 yards, and moved past previous No. 6 Rick Casko (3,935; 1977-80) at North Dakota (9/1); current Drake wide receivers coach and then-No. 5 Jeff Martin (4,365; 1973-76) vs. Grand View (9/10); previous No. 4 Ron Royer (4,677) vs. Missouri S&T; previous No. 3 Gary Yagelski (4,795) at Butler (10/24) and previous No. 2 Connor Jostes (6,525) vs. Jacksonville (11/5). The top five list is below:

DRAKE CAREER PASSING YARDS LIST

1) 7,868-Ira Vandever (1999-2002)
2) 6,642-Mike Piatkowski (2009-curent)
2) 6,525-Connor Jostes (2002-05)
4) 4,795-Gary Yagelski (1979-82)
5) 4,677-Ron Royer (1963-66)

NUMBERS TO WATCH:

1,227-Passing yards needed by Mike Piatkowski to break Drake's record for career passing yards. With one season of eligibility remaining he has a legitimate shot to top the mark of 7,868 (Ira Vandever, 1999-2002) in 2012.

591-Passing yards needed by Mike Piatkowski to set the Drake all-time single-season record (3,239; Ira Vandever, 2002). He already has the second-best single-season total with 2,649 entering the final game, topping the mark of 2,646 by Connor Jostes (2003).

3-TD passes by Mike Piatkowski to move into second on Drake's single-season TD pass list (32, Vandever, '02; 23 Steve Osterberger, '89).

62.2%-Career completion percentage for Piatkowski (570-917); best in school history. His 62.8% mark in 2009 (203-323) is the best single-season figure ever by a Bulldog, and he is completing 65.2% of his passes thus far in 2011 (206-316).

OFFENSIVE NOTES FROM GAME 10 VS. JACKSONVILLE (11/5/11):

  • QB Mike Piatkowski threw two touchdown passes and led Drake on two touchdown drives in the final four minutes to key the win. In the process he moved into second place all-time in passing yards by a Bulldog and secured at the least the second-best single-season figure in school history.
  • RB Patrick Cashmore logged career highs for carries (35) and yards (160), and matched his career high with two touchdowns. Remarkably, on 35 carries, he did not lose a single yard on any rushing attempt. It was his fourth 100-yard rushing effort of the season and sixth of his career. Cashmore's second touchdown was the game-winner with 21 seconds to play, breaking a 24-24 tie. He had 99 of his yards in the second half.
  • WR Drew Blackmon caught four passes for a game-high 86 yards (21.5), including a 28-yard second-quarter touchdown that tied the game at 10.
  • WR Joey Orlando caught an 8-yard touchdown pass, his sixth of the season, all in the past six games.

DEFENSIVE NOTES FROM GAME 10 VS. JACKSONVILLE (11/5/11):

  • Drake intercepted a season-best four passes, and record five sacks and six tackles for loss.
  • CB Michael Lahart intercepted two passes to help fuel a defensive performance that limited the high-powered Jacksonville offense to 297 total yards in Drake's 31-24 win. Both interceptions came in the second quarter and ended Dolphins scoring threats, the first at the Drake 21-yard line and the second in the end zone. Lahart now has four interceptions on the season and three in the past two games.
  • LB Tyler Moorehead had two sacks among his six tackles (5 solo), and now has five sacks in the past two games.
  • S Nick Chenier and CB Lyndon Crawford also intercepted passes for the Bulldogs.
  • NT David Witkiewicz had two sacks among his five solo tackles and now has four on the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES FROM GAME 10 VS. JACKSONVILLE (11/5/11):

  • P/K Billy Janssen averaged 48.7 yards on six punts, including an 83-yard boot that is the second-longest in the FCS this season, third-longest in Drake history-longest since 1949. He also converted his only field goal attempt (43 yds.) for the game's first points and made all four PAT attempts.

BLOCK PARTY: Drake has blocked eight kicks this season (3 FGA, 2 PAT, 3 Punts), tied for second-most by any NCAA FCS school. LB Tyler Moorehead has two blocks-a punt that was returned for a TD vs. Missouri S&T (9/17) and a 37-yard field goal attempt vs. Campbell (10/1). CB Dustin Davis blocked a 20-yard FG attempt vs. Grand View (9/10); DE John Sawhill blocked a PAT in the second quarter vs. Missouri S&T (9/17); S Michael Ratelle blocked a punt in the first quarter at Morehead State (10/8) and CB Michael Lahart blocked a second quarter 29-yard field goal in the same game. Ratelle blocked his second punt of the season at Marist (10/29), and later in the same game DT David Witkiewicz blocked at PAT.

AT HOME IN DRAKE STADIUM: Drake has won nine home games in a row and is 19-3 at Drake Stadium since Chris Creighton became head coach in 2008. That matches the nine-game home winning streak fashioned by the 1997-99 Bulldogs, and is the longest streak of home wins since 1995-97 when Drake won 10 in a row. Under Coach Creighton Drake is 13-2 in PFL home games, including wins each of its last seven conference games at Drake Stadium.

EXCELLING ON AND OFF FIELD: Two Drake fifth-year seniors have received significant off-the-field honors this year. CB/PR Michael Lahart was announced Sept. 29 as a candidate for the National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Award, and a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation. LB Stoy Hall was named Sept. 20 as the first Bulldog to make the prestigious 22-man Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team for his community work. He will take part in events at the 2012 Sugar Bowl and be recognized at the game.

OVERTIME NOT SO COMMON OCCURRENCE FOR DRAKE: Drake's Sept. 10 overtime win against Grand View was just the third played by the Bulldogs, and the first since Oct. 25, 2003. That game was a 51-45 loss at Valparaiso. Drake's first overtime game came a year earlier, Oct. 12, 2002, when the Bulldogs defeated Albany 49-42 in double overtime at Drake Stadium. Drake is 2-0 at home in overtime games and 0-1 on the road.

LEADERSHIP FROM THE CAPTAINS: Drake's players voted during the summer to elect one team captain for the entire season, and chose fifth-year senior cornerback/return specialist Michael Lahart to serve in that role. One game captain has joined Lahart each week: Wk. 1 at North Dakota (9/1/11), Wk. 3 vs. Missouri S&T (9/17),  Wk. 7 at San Diego (10/15) & Wk. 9 at Marist (10/29)-Fifth-year senior kicker Billy Janssen; Wk. 2 vs. Grand View (9/10)-senior linebacker Tyler Moorehead; Wk. 4 at Butler (9/24)-junior linebacker Jake Underwood; Wk. 5 vs. Campbell (10/1)-sophomore cornerback Joshua Matthews; Wk. 6 at Morehead State (10/8)-senior DT David Witkiewicz; Wk. 8 vs. Valparaiso (10/22)-senior DE E.J. Walter.

BULLDOGS AMONG THE BEST: Drake ranks No. 20 in overall victories (571) among the 123 schools that make up the Division I Football Championships Subdivision (FCS). This week's game will be the 1,086th in 118 years of football for the school, dating back to the initial campaign in 1893. The Bulldogs' all-time record is 571-485-29 (.539).

THE LAST TIME IT HAPPENED:

Last time Drake played an overtime game -at Drake 28, Grand View 21 (one overtime), Sept. 10, 2011

Last time Drake played an overtime game on road -Valparaiso 51, Drake 45, (one overtime), Oct. 25, 2003

Last shutout by Drake - 50-0 vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last shutout by Drake at home - 50-0 vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last time Drake shut out - 16-0 at North Dakota, Sept. 1, 2011

Last time Drake shut out at home - 37-0 by San Diego, Oct. 21, 2006

Last Drake kickoff return for touchdown - 90 yards, Augustine Agyei vs. Waldorf, Sept. 8, 2007

Last Drake punt return for a touchdown - 49 yards, Mike Lahart vs. Marist, Oct. 2, 2010

Last time Drake blocked a punt for a touchdown - 28 yards, Brent Shelton vs. Missouri S&T, Sept. 17, 2011

Last time Drake blocked a punt for a safety - Mike Bialas vs. Butler, Oct. 6, 2007

Last Drake pass interception for a touchdown - 65 yards, Jake Underwood vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last Drake fumble return for a touchdown - 22 yards, Mike Piatkowski vs. Davidson, Oct. 23, 2010

Last Drake player to rush for 100 yards - 160 (35 carries) Patrick Cashmore vs. Jacksonville, Nov. 5, 2011

Two Drake players 100+ rush yards same game - 101 yards (19 carries), Willie Cashmore; 216 yards in (27 carries), Scott Phaydavong vs. Jacksonville, Nov. 10, 2006

Last Drake player to have 100 or more yards receiving - 163 yards (5 receptions, 2 TDs), Nathan Paddock at Morehead State, Oct. 8, 2011

Last Drake player to pass for more than 300 yards - 310 yards, Mike Piatkowski at Morehead State, Oct. 8, 2011

Last Drake player to rush for three touchdowns - 3, Scott Phaydavong vs. Valparaiso Sept. 29, 2007

Last Drake player to catch three touchdowns - 3, Jason Jones vs. Jacksonville, Oct. 4, 2003

Last Drake player to pass for four touchdowns - 4, Mike Piatkowski vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last Drake player to pass for five touchdowns - 5, Connor Jostes vs. Upper Iowa, Nov. 6, 2004

Last Drake player to score three touchdowns - 3, Scott Phaydavong vs. Valparaiso, Sept. 29, 2007

Last Drake player to make four field goals - 4, Billy Janssen at Morehead State, Oct. 8, 2011

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