Football Opens PFL Slate at Marist Saturday

first_imgDrake is picked to finish third in the 2019 Pioneer Football League Coaches Preseason Poll as it returns eight All-PFL performers. Four of those PFL selections return on defense in defensive linemen, Gavin Dinnen and Erin Morgan, linebacker Zac Rujawitz and safety Will Warner. The quartet were part of last season’s unit that ranked in the top 15 in nearly every defensive statistical category. Warner had an outstanding junior season that was capped by being named Drake’s first first-team All-American since Eric Saubert in 2015 and the Bulldogs’ first Associated Press first-team All-American since 1982. Individually, Warner was second in the nation in interceptions with eight to also tie the Drake program record. He also led the nation in interception return yardage at 223 total yards. Outside of his interceptions, Warner was second on the team in solo tackles with 41 and successfully defended a total of 12 passes. Dinnen was a 2018 All-PFL First Team selection who recorded 3.0 sacks and 38 tackles. Morgan was selected to the 2018 All-PFL Second Team after he tallied 3.5 sacks, 8.0 tackles for loss and 21 tackles at defensive end. Rujawitz started all 11 games and is the top returning tackler with 54, including 22 solo stops. On the other side of the football, Drake will have a new quarterback under center in true freshman Ian Corwin. Corwin comes to Drake after a decorated prep career for Jenks High School in Tulsa, Okla. At Jenks, Corwin broke 15 school records, went 29-8 in three seasons as the starter and helped Jenks finish as state runners-up in 2018. Corwin will play behind an experienced offensive line and will have help from the Bulldogs’ top three leading rushers and receivers from last season. Corwin’s top three receiving targets, Devin Cates, Steven Doran and Mitch McFarlane combined for 1,865 receiving yards and 21 receiving touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ top three returning rushers, Braeden Hartwig, Drew Lauer and Cross Robinson ran for 935 combined yards and seven touchdowns. Also, back is senior punter Ross Kennedy. Kennedy was an All-PFL honorable mention selection last season. He recorded 52 punts for an average of 37.3 yards, including a season-long 57-yarder against Montana. Kennedy placed 17 punts inside the 20-yard line and didn’t kick a touchback all year. He finished the season No. 93 among FCS punters with his average of 37.3 yards per punt. Live Stats Marist Game Notes RewindDrake is trying to avoid its first 0-4 start to a season since the 1991 campaign. The Bulldogs will look to jump start their offense, which has scored 24 points through their first three games. Drake played a challenging non-conference slate that included away games at No. 3 South Dakota State and North Dakota (RV). Drake trailed 14-3 against SDSU at halftime, but the Jackrabbits were too much for the Bulldogs in the final two quarters as they went on to win by a score of 38-10. Drake quarterback Ian Corwin finished 19-of-34 with 232 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Corwin bounced back from a 1-of-4 start with one yard in the first quarter. Tight end Devin Cates hauled in 10 catches for 95 yards for the Bulldogs, just missing his first career 100-yard receiving game. Wide receiver Shane Feller caught his first career touchdown and finished with three catches for 39 yards.Scouting MaristMarist already has a win in PFL play this season with its 26-23 home victory over Stetson on Sept. 14. The Red Foxes never trailed against the Hatters on the way to their 42nd all-time PFL win. Marist dropped its final non-conference game to Cornell, 21-7, this past Saturday.Scouting DrakeDrake begins a new era in 2019 under the leadership of first-year head coach Todd Stepsis. Stepsis, who is the 27th head coach in Drake football history in its 126 seasons. Stepsis takes the reins of the Bulldogs’ program after serving as the program’s defensive coordinator for the past five seasons under previous head coach Rick Fox. As the defensive coordinator, Stepsis built the Drake defense into one of the nation’s top units and coached a total of 42 all-conference selections including the program’s all-time leading tackler, John Huginin and the most recent Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Year, Nathan Clayberg.  Print Friendly Version POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Drake University football team opens Pioneer Football League play at Marist Saturday, Sept. 28. Kickoff in Poughkeepsie is scheduled for 12 p.m. CDT. Live Audio Drake Game Notes Live Video Saturday’s PFL opener for Drake (0-3, 0-0 PFL) at Marist (1-2, 1-0 PFL) is the eighth all-time meeting between the teams and will be third time their meeting starts PFL action for Drake. The series started in 2009 when the Red Foxes joined the PFL. Drake, which enjoyed a bye week after its final non-conference game at South Dakota State on Sept. 15, owns a perfect 7-0 record over Marist, including a 3-0 record in Poughkeepsie. The Bulldogs held off the Red Foxes, 13-10, last season in Des Moines.    Story Linkslast_img read more