DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University football team
travels to Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend with a share of the Pioneer
Football League championship hanging in the balance. With a win over
Jacksonville, the defending PFL co-champion Bulldogs would secure a share of
back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1931. Kickoff between
Drake and Jacksonville is scheduled for noon, CST at the Dolphins’ D.B. Milne
Drake put itself in control of its own destiny with a
convincing 45-20 win over PFL leading Butler last weekend to hand BU its first
conference loss of the season and tie Drake, Butler and San Diego atop the PFL
standings with one loss each. Butler and San Diego do not face each other this
season. However, Drake defeated both programs by a combined 53 points.
“Everybody knows, that if we win, we’re champions and if we don’t,
we’re not,” head coach Chris Creighton said of this weekend’s pivotal game. “The
truth of the matter is in the PFL, every game is a championships game because
there’s no guarantee that you can lose and still be in it. This just happens to
be our last championship game and we’re in a position to win a championship."
Standing in the way of that second consecutive title is a
Jacksonville squad that has suffered just two PFL losses and boasts the PFL’s
top defense by surrendering just 309.6 yards and 20.7 points per game.
Offensively, the squad possesses a balanced attack and a running game that put
up 333 yards against Campbell in last week’s win.
“Offensively they can throw it and they can run it, they’re
very well coached,” Creighton said of Jacksonville. “We have to be ready for
anything. Defensively they’re leading the league in a ton of different
categories and are good from the front all the way to the back end. They pose a
major challenge for us.”
The Bulldogs head to Florida with an offense that recorded 546
yards of offense in the win over Butler with 175 yards coming on the ground and
371 through the air. Meanwhile the defense allowed just 50 rushing yards and
303 total yards in the dominating win. However, as soon as the clock hit zero
in the win over Butler, the focus immediately shifted to the season finale in
Jacksonville, something that has been apparent in practices this week.
“I think that it’s hit our football team this is our last
week,” head coach Chris Creighton said. “When you get that realization that you’ve
worked so hard for this and have a few days left, you don’t take anything for
granted. We’ve practiced hard and it’s been a good week.”