Football Scores 31 Straight Points to Defeat Indianapolis, 31-14
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University football team used a surge of second-half momentum to score 18 third-quarter points and propel itself past Indianapolis, 31-14, Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium in front of 4,259 fans.
Drake (1-2) scored 31 straight points, all but three coming in the second half, to push its way past Indianapolis (2-1), the No. 12 team in Division II. Offensively, the Bulldogs racked up 372 yards of total offense, with 211 coming through the air and 161 on the ground.
Junior Gary Scott, Jr. (Forsyth, Ill.) had 117 rushing yards for this third career 100-yard game. Fifth-year senior Nick Rosa (Owasso, Okla.) had two touchdown catches and finished with 107 receiving yards, the fourth time of his career that he has surpassed 100 receiving yards. Junior Andy Rice (Stevens Point, Wis.) threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 25-for-34 passing.
As a defense, Drake held strong against the rushing attack of Klay Fietcher, holding the standout running back to 34 yards, well off his 153.3 yards per game average. The Greyhounds as a whole were limited to 80 yards on the ground, while the passing game gained 273 yards. Junior Bob Quilico, Jr. (Schaumburg, Ill.) led the defensive unit with nine tackles. Fifth year senior Dustin Davis (Council Bluffs, Iowa) ended a last-minute desperation drive by the Greyhounds with an interception to seal the game.
“Drake football isn’t perfection and it doesn’t mean things are easy, because obviously they weren’t today,” Drake head coach Chris Creighton said. “For the most part, we got to Drake football today. That is what we were longing for and what will help propel us to start the Pioneer Football league season.”
Drake came out of halftime and the offense immediately found its rhythm, opening the half with an 8-play, 70-yard drive to put the Bulldogs in the lead for the first time this season, 10-7. The drive was capped by Rosa’s grab in the back corner of the end zone while fighting off a defender. Rice was a perfect 4-for-4 for 34 yards and picked up a key first down on his feet to set his team up with a first-and-goal situation. Scott also accounted for 19 yards on three carries during the drive.
A blocked punt by sophomore Eric Saubert (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) late in the third quarter continued the big surge for the Bulldogs, setting the Blue and White up on the Indianapolis 12-yard line for one final scoring chance before the end of the quarter. Rice found Rosa once again in the back corner of the end zone, this time for six yards and the duo’s second touchdown of the afternoon. Drake extended its lead, 21-7, by opting for the two-point conversion to make the score a two-touchdown lead.
The Bulldogs took firm control of the game with 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, as fifth-year senior Brandon Coleman (Cary, Ill.) stripped Indianapolis quarterback Chris Mills in the end zone and senior Sean Conerty (Arlington Heights, Ill.) recovered the ball for a touchdown to put Drake up 28-7. A Benjamin Tesson (Fenton, Mo.) field goal on the Bulldogs’ next possession, his third of the game, put Drake up 31-7. Indianapolis marched 80 yards down the field immediately after to cut into the lead at 31-14 and successfully recovered an onside kick with 1:14 left. However, any attempt to further erase the deficit was thwarted by Davis’ interception to seal the victory.
“At halftime, there was no ‘rah-rah’,” Creighton said when asked about an tactical adjustments. “We just talked about what we were going to continue to do. There were not adjustments in that way, but 31 points to three was just a matter of guys executing.”
The flurry of second half offense came after an opening half that was scoreless until the final minutes. The Greyhounds struck first, converting a third-and-10 from the 22-yard line for a touchdown. Drake assumed possession with just 52 seconds remaining on the clock, and drove down the field to allow Tesson to convert on a 52-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 at halftime. The freshman’s kick tied former Bulldog great and current Cleveland Brown Billy Cundiff for the fifth-longest field goal in Drake football history.
“We did not expect for him to be playing this year,” Creighton said of his freshman kicker. “But he has competed and we were wowed by his ability and consistency. He got the nod and has taken full advantage of that opportunity.”
The first quarter saw Indianapolis drive down the field on their first two possessions, but the Drake defense tightened in the red zone, forcing field goal attempts, both of which missed from junior kicker Scott Miller to account for nearly 30 minutes of scoreless football.
The Bulldogs begin the defense of the their back-to-back Pioneer Football League titles next weekend, Saturday, Sept. 28, at league newcomer Mercer. Kickoff in Macon, Ga., is scheduled for noon, CDT.