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Football Begins PFL Action Against Morehead State

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: September 20, 2012
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The Drake University football team begins the defense of its 2011 Pioneer Football League championship on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Morehead State at 1 p.m. inside Drake Stadium.

Tickets for the league opener for both teams are available by clicking here. The contest will also be broadcast in Des Moines on KRNT 1350-AM. As the Bulldogs will look to get back on track after a pair of hard-fought losses to nationally ranked opponents.

 

Saturday's contest has the potential to be an aerial battle as two of the top passing offenses in the nation square off with Drake quarterback Mike Piatkowski on pace to become the program's all-time leading passer. The senior, who needs just 31 yards to set the school record for career passing yardage, currently has 7,838 career passing yards and leads the nation's 10th best passing offense.

However, the humble signal caller isn't focused on Saturday's record-setting potential, but rather getting back to the team's winning ways.

"It'll be cool when I look back at the end of the season," Piatkowski said of the possibility of become the school's top passer. "But we're all looking forward to getting this bitter taste out of our mouth after the last two games that we felt we could have won. It's going to be great to get back out there. We treat every game like it's a championships because there's so many good teams in this league and if you lose one game, you could be out of the hunt so every game is a big game."

The opposite sideline just as much passing punch that will provide head coach Chris Creighton's defense with its first test against a pass-heavy offense that ranks sixth in the nation in passing. That offense is led by the FCS active passing leader in Zach Lewis who has thrown for 8,203 career yards and has guided MSU to 349.3 yards per game through the air this season.

"For people who like to see the ball in the air, you have two of the top-10 passers in PFL history going head-to-head Saturday," Creighton said of the offenses that will be on display. "However, we would like to be more balanced, which we were not able to be last week, having to come from behind."

On the defensive side of the ball, Drake will look to disrupt the passing game by continuing its ability to get into opponents' backfields and disrupt the offense. The Bulldogs rank third in the FCS in sacks and tackles for loss with 4.3 and 9.7 per game and lead the PFL in these categories.

"We have to shut the running game down first," senior defensive lineman Brandon Coleman said of the defense's plan. "But then we have a whole other monster on our hands with that quarterback. He is a good player, he makes his reads quick, and gets the ball out of his hands quick."

Saturday's game will be the eighth all time in the series, with Drake holding a 5-2 advantage, including a perfect 3-0 record at Drake Stadium.

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