Grand View Clips Drake, 21-16, In Football Season Opener
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University football team dropped its season opener, 21-16, to Grand View Thursday evening at Drake Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,068, the biggest Drake Stadium crowd since Grand View visited for the first time in 2009.
Drake (0-1) struggled offensively, as Grand View (1-0) outgained the Bulldogs 406 to 302 yards with the Vikings racking up 123 yards split evenly between four running backs. Despite Gary Scott, Jr.’s (Forsyth, Ill.) efforts for the Blue and White, Drake gained only 29 yards on the ground, with the remaining 273 yards coming through the air courtesy of Andy Rice (Stevens Point, Wis.) who was making his first start under center.
“First of all, congratulations to Grand View,” said Drake head coach Chris Creighton, “I thought they were awesome and played really, really hard. We said the team that played the hardest tonight was going to win and honestly, I thought they played harder.”
Viking quarterback Derek Fulton gashed the Drake defense for 291 yards on 26-of-40 passing with one passing touchdown. Brady Roland was his top target, catching 12 passes for 173 yards including 70-yard touchdown reception on the second offensive play of the game to put Grand View on top early.
Although the rushing attack as a whole struggled for Drake, Scott was a bright spot, breaking a career long 45-yard run to bring Drake back into the game. Scott finished the game with 70 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. In his debut at quarterback, Rice passed for 273 yards and a touchdown by completing 26 of his 50 passing attempts.
“They did a great job with the run and we would have rather been 50-50 [in terms of play calling,]” Creighton said. “I didn’t feel as if we had the run game going, so we had to throw it because we were playing from behind. We did not anticipate throwing the ball 50 times.”
Fifth-year senior, Nick Rosa (Owasso, Okla.) was Rice’s top target, catching five passes for 89 yards including a 39-yard reception. Junior John Hugunin (Oswego, Ill.) anchored the Bulldog defense with 19 tackles, 16 of them solo stops.
“John is a guy who is passionate about this game and I don’t question at all how hard he played,” Creighton said.
After a botched Grand View punt placed the Drake offense on the Grand View 28-yard line, the Bulldogs were able to put themselves on the scoreboard for the first time with 6:43 left in the first quarter. A Rosa reception for 17 yards brought the Bulldogs within striking distance and freshman Benjamin Tesson (Fenton, Mo.) converted a 20-yard field goal for the score.
The Vikings took a 14-3 lead into the locker room at halftime after a 10 play, 64-yard drive early in the second quarter extended their lead while the young Drake offense struggled to finish drives.
Drake could have faced a bigger deficit at halftime, if not for senior Mike Ratelle’s (Edina, Minn.) interception at the Bulldog 5-yard line stopped a promising Viking drive. Grand View had 233 yards at the break to the Bulldogs’ 146 yards.
The Bulldogs were finally able to establish a ground attack in the third quarter, as Scott broke open his 45-yard run to give his team first and goal from the 10-yard line. Scott got the call on third and goal, and took a pitch from Rice into the end zone for a Drake touchdown to pull the Bulldogs within a possession, 14-10, with 8:07 remaining in the third quarter.
However, Drake could not hold on to the momentum as Grand View used an eight play, 52-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown from Charles Badgett to build an 11-point lead, 21-10, in the closing minutes of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs responded quickly, driving down the field on the following possession. The six-play, 75-yard drive included a pair of deep passes, one to Rosa for 39 yards and a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior Michael Hudson (Urbandale, Iowa). Drake was unable to convert the two-point conversion, making the score 21-16 at the end of three quarters.
The Vikings looked to extend their lead on their following possession, but a promising drive was stifled by the Drake defense at the goal line. The ensuing Grand View field goal attempt was blocked by Dustin Davis (Council Bluffs, Iowa) to keep the Bulldogs within a touchdown at 21-16.
Drake was granted a final chance with 2:32 remaining in the game after the defense stuffed Grand View quarterback Dorian Ballentine short of the marker on fourth down in Drake territory. The Bulldogs, however, could not convert on a fourth down, turning the ball over on downs with 47 seconds remaining in the game.
Drake will travel to Cedar Falls looking to rebound from Thursday’s loss with a contest against in-state foe No. 16 Northern Iowa. Kickoff at the UNI Dome is set for 4 p.m.