The Drake football team scored touchdowns in four straight first-half drives and never looked back in a 56-14 win over Morehead State on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 2) at Drake Stadium.
The Bulldogs improve to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the Pioneer Football League with their 15th consecutive league win at home. The Eagles slip to 3-6 on the year and 3-3 in conference action. DU also moves to 7-2 in the all-time series with its fourth straight victory over MSU. The Bulldogs have now won four of their last five contests this year, while the Eagles have dropped two in a row.
"We struggled on both sides of the ball, but give Drake a lot of credit," Head Coach Rob Tenyer. "I have a lot of respect for their coaches and players. They were certainly the better football team today, and they showed why they've won 15 straight PFL games at home."
After throwing an early interception, Drake found the end zone four straight times on drives of 12, seven, six and five plays. Junior quarterback Andy Rice registered touchdown passes of 11, three and 13 yards, plus one rush to the end zone from two yards away.
Rice finished 23-of-32 for 232 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. His top target, sophomore tight end Eric Saubert, pulled in seven receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown. Junior running back Gary Scott added a team-best 78 yards on 14 carries.
Drake finished with advantages of 29-12 in first downs, 511-232 in total yards, 221-81 in rushing yards and 290-150 in passing yards. The Bulldogs converted 8-of-14 third-down attempts, while the Eagles were held to 4-of-17. DU also possessed the ball for 36 minutes.
MSU freshman quarterback Austin Gahafer closed out 16-of-34 for 139 yards with two interceptions. Freshman slot Jake Raymond and junior slot Cyrus Strahm tallied three catches apiece, while freshman wide receiver Mason Rutherford posted 37 receiving yards.
Senior defensive back Steven Lester, playing in his 37th game at Morehead State, recorded a career-best 12 tackles. Senior defensive back Mike Ratelle turned in a team-best eight stops for Drake. The Bulldogs forced two turnovers in the tilt, while the Eagles forced one.
"Everyone in our locker room should be disappointed with the way we played today," Tenyer said. "We didn't get in a rhythm offensively and we missed way too many tackles defensively. We will go back to the drawing board tomorrow and work to get better as a team."
MSU posted the game's first and last touchdowns, but Drake collected 56 points in between. Junior slot Brandon Bornhauser recorded a one-yard TD run two minutes in, while freshman quarterback Logan Johnson registered a 34-yard TD sprint with one minute to play.
The Eagles return to Jayne Stadium for their final three games of 2013. MSU will host San Diego on Nov. 9, Butler on Nov. 16 and Charlotte on Nov. 23. All games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
"We have to move on and prepare for our next opponent, which is San Diego," Tenyer said. "I'm not a guy to make excuses, but we are a very young football team and I'm certain we will get better. With six minutes to go today, we had six true freshmen and two redshirt freshmen on the field."
All MSU home games are shown live and free of charge on OVCDigitalNetwork.com. They are also broadcast live on the Eagle Sports Network with Chuck Mraz, Jason Blanton and Mike Williams.
"We played like a young inexperienced team today, and Drake played like a very solid veteran squad," Tenyer added. "All I ask is that our young men continue to believe in the plan and vision this coaching staff has put together. If they stay with it, I'm confident everything will eventually pay off."