Saturday, October 28, 2017

Comeback Bid Falls Short for Davidson Against Drake

DES MOINES, Iowa – Davidson found the end zone in the final minute of play, but time ran out on the ‘Cats as Drake hung on for a Pioneer Football League win at Drake Stadium Saturday, 17-12.

With the loss, Davidson falls to 2-6 overall and 0-5 in league play, while with the win Drake improves to 5-3, 4-1 in the PFL.

Falling behind 14-0 in the second quarter, it looked all Bulldogs, but the Wildcats clawed back in the second half. Trailing 17-6 with time winding down in regulation, sophomore quarterback Stockton McGuire orchestrated a 9-play, 76-yard touchdown drive finished off with a William Wicks 27-yard scoring grab, his fourth of the season. Davidson’s two-point conversion attempt failed, making it 17-12 with under a minute to play.

Davidson needed to recover an onside kick to keep the rally alive and Smith had delivered earlier this season before, but Drake was able to punch out the ball from the scrum and recover it, setting up the victory formation.

The Bulldogs strung together one touchdown drive on offense in the first frame, but an Alex Bray pick-six in the second extended the Drake advantage out to 14 midway through the second quarter.

Following another stretch of mishaps, the Wildcats needed something to go their way and sophomore linebacker George Hatalowich delivered. The Hummelstown, Pa., native picked off Sam Hefner and returned it deep into Bulldog territory and set up a 29-yard Trevor Smith field goal to swing momentum towards Davidson heading into the break, 14-3. The pick was the first for the ‘Cats this season.

The stingy Davidson defense delivered again in the third as senior Ryan Samuels recovered a muffed punt, setting up another drive ending in a 27-yard Smith kick.

The Wildcats outgained Drake by a single yard, 236 to 235, and won the possession battle led by a stout defensive charge. Sophomore Stephen Shank led the way with 11 total tackles, 7 solo, 0.5 for loss. The Holly Springs, N.C., native also picked off a pass in the second half.

McGuire completed 15-of-34 passes for 142 yards, a touchdown and one interception. Freshman running back Wesley Dugger carried a heavy load, rushing 27 times for 80 yards, while Hunter Louthan hauled in six catches as a favorite target for McGuire.

Davidson returns to Richardson Stadium for a two-game home stand beginning Saturday, Nov. 4 when the Camels of Campbell University visit Stephen B. Smith Field. The PFL clash kicks off at 1:06 p.m.