BUIES CREEK, N.C. - The Drake University football team improved to 2-0 in the Pioneer Football League with a commanding 35-7 victory over Campbell Saturday evening in Buies Creek, N.C. The Bulldogs held one of the top rushing teams in the league to just 57 yards on the ground in a game that was delayed by more than an hour due to inclement weather and played in wet, rainy conditions.
The Bulldogs held a 481-to-286 advantage in total yardage and racked up 32 first downs in the victory. Offensively Drake was led by senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski's (Wheaton, Ill.) 258 yards on 23-of-38 passing with a touchdown through the air and on the ground. The aerial attack was supported by 283 rushing yards with Gary Scott, Jr. (Forsyth, Ill.) leading the pack with 77 yards and a touchdown followed by Trey Morse's (Elmo, Texas) 68 yards.
The staunch defensive effort recorded a pair of interceptions, five tackles for loss and two sacks. Jake Underwood (Cary, Ill.) was in on a team-high 10 tackles to help DU improve to 3-2 overall while the Camels fell to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the PFL.
"It was a weird game with lightning delays," head coach Chris Creighton said. "But I was proud of our guys and how they were able to maintain the momentum and the emotion through all the breaks."
The Bulldogs ended the first half with a firm 21-0 lead thanks to a 27-yard Derek Temple (Grimes, Iowa) interception return for a touchdown with 1:51 left in the half. That defensive highlight redeemed an offensive drive that stalled out on the Campbell 8-yard line and resulted in a missed field goal. It was one of three Drake trips inside the CU 30-yard line that came up scoreless in the first half.
"Our defense was great," Creighton said of Temple's interception return and the squad's ability to stop the run. "I'm really proud of our defense. They led the charge tonight and it's a tall order when you don't see an option team that often. It's tough to prepare for and our guys did a great job."
The Bulldogs got on the board first on their second drive of the game as Scott strode into the end zone from three yards out to cap an 8-play, 63-yard drive. Drake's next score came on a momentum-shifting special teams play when the Campbell punter failed to handle the snap. The pressure and miscue gave Drake excellent field position on the Camels' 22-yard line. Two plays later, Piatkowski found Nick Rosa (Owasso, Okla.) for an 11-yard strike before the 63-minute lightning delay suspended play with 5:29 left in the half. Rosa finished the game with a team-high seven catches and 92 yards.
After halftime, the Bulldogs suffered one of their few defensive miscues on the night as Campbell quarterback Dakota Wolf found A.J. Artis behind the DU defense for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Wolf finished the evening with 169 passing yards and 41 on the ground.
The Bulldogs countered the Camels' lone score on the ensuing drive with a 4-minute drive that spanned 64 yards on nine plays the resulted in a Piatkowski keeper getting into the endzone.
A 14-play, 61-yard drive accounted for the final tally with James scoring on a 1-yard run to cap the evening's scoring. Twenty-five of James' yards came on the drive that allowed the Bulldogs to comfortably end the game.
"All three of our backs played well," Creighton said. "That's always due to the offensive line and we've got guys who can make plays there. It's a good feeling. This was a long trip and our guys handled it well tonight."
The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday, Oct. 6 when they host PFL rival and fellow defending league co-champion San Diego for homecoming. Kickoff at Drake Stadium is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.