The Pioneer Football League’s reigning co-champions renew their rivalry Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium when the Drake University football team hosts San Diego. Kickoff for the game, which is also the Bulldogs’ homecoming, is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CD
The contest will be carried on radio courtesy of KRNT 1350-AM with live audio and video here. Tickets for Saturday’s contest can be purchased in advance here. Youths age 18 and younger will get into the game for free as part of the Take a Kid to a Game initiative.
The Bulldogs and Toreros are two of the PFL’s four unbeaten teams in league play as Drake improved to 2-0 last weekend with a 35-7 win at Campbell while San Diego has a 1-0 league record after enjoying its bye week last weekend. Overall, Drake is 3-2 this season with both losses coming to then nationally ranked programs in No. 4 Montana State and No. 22 Indiana State. San Diego is 2-2 with wins over Valparaiso and Western New Mexico. The Toreros have lost to No. 24 Harvard and Cal Poly.
“It’s a huge game, every PFL game is huge,” head coach Chris Creighton said. “San Diego is really good and our guys want to compete against the team that’s picked to win the league.”
San Diego brings a squad to Drake that is second in the PFL in scoring at 28 points per game while leading the league in special teams categories such as field goals, punting and kickoff coverage.
“We pride ourselves in special teams and turnovers and San Diego is the best team in the league in those areas,” Creighton said. “If we want to compete with the best team in the league, we’re going to have to battle in those two areas. Offensively we’re going to have to execute and be efficient. Defensively, we have to defend a team that can hurt you in a lot of different ways."
Drake’s offense is currently ranked fourth in the PFL and is led by senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski who ranks 13th nationally in total offense with 279.4 yards per game with a pair of 300-yard games under his belt already this season. He commands the Bulldogs’ passing attack that ranks ninth nationally at 292.4 yards per game. However, the last two games have seen the Bulldogs ground game emerge with the squad averaging 166.5 yards per game in those two wins with Gary Scott, Jr. running for 98 yards per game and two touchdowns in that span.
Kenn James leads the Toreros rushing attack with 182 yards on 28 carries. James had 128 yards on 12 carries in the win against Valparaiso and ranks fourth in the PFL with 105.8 all-purpose yards per game. USD quarterback Mason Mills is fourth in the PFL in passing yards at 259.2 yards per game and has thrown for eight touchdowns and completed 66 percent of his passes this season.
Drake leads the all-time series against San Diego by a narrow 10-9 margin with six of those wins coming at Drake Stadium. The teams have split the last four meetings.
In addition to it being homecoming, Saturday is also Bring a Kid to the Game Day with all youths 18 years of age and younger getting into the game for free. Prior to the game, Drake will also recognize members of its 1966 football team that are on hand.