DES MOINES - On a record-setting day from Mike Piatkowski, the Drake football team rallied from a 10-point deficit to defeat Morehead State 28-25 in the Pioneer Football League opener for both teams Saturday at Drake Stadium.
Piatkowski set the school record for passing yards in the second quarter with a five yard completion to Joey Orlando to surpass Ira Vandever's record of 7,868 yards set in 2002. The reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year finished the game 29 of 41 for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He now stands alone at 8,106 yards.
"I try not to think about it (the record)," Piatkowski said after the game. "At the end of the season, I'll probably think about it, but we got a win today and that's all that matters. It was a team effort and the crowd was a big part of that."
Piatkowski connected on a pair of 16-yard touchdown strikes to J.T. Teague and Nick Rosa in the fourth quarter to put the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-0) up 28-17.
Rees MacShara's 4-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion pulled the Eagles (1-3, 0-1) within three. Morehead State had the ball back with less than 2 minutes before Drake's Tyler Moorehead picked off Zach Lewis, allowing the Bulldogs to run out the clock.
"We kind of had to have a wake-up call there late," head coach Chris Creighton said. "I don't know that we played any differently in the fourth quarter outside of there being some passion and imposing our will."
Locked at 7-7 at halftime, Morehead State jumped in front in the third quarter with a 21-yard field goal from Rainer Duzan. Jordan Hendrix picked off Piatkowski later in the quarter and returned it 25 yards before lateralling the ball to John Coleman, who added 7 yards to the return. Brandon Bornhauser completed the drive with a 27-yard TD scamper to push the Eagles' lead to 17-7.
Orlando was Piatkowski's top target on the day with eight receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Gary Scott led the Bulldogs on the ground with 119 yards and score.
Defensively, the Bulldogs stymied the sixth-ranked passing offense of the Eagles, limiting their potent attack to a season low 172 yards. John Hugunin led the defense with 16 tackles and a sack, while Travis Merritt added 14 stops.
Drake continues PFL play next Saturday when they travel to Buies Creek, N.C. to face Campbell University. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.