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2011 FOOTBALL END-OF-YEAR REVIEW: Bulldogs Claim PFL Co-Championship

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: December 22, 2011
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The Bulldogs captured a share of their fifth PFL Championship in 2011
Courtesy: Drake Athletics

Friday, Dec. 23, 2011

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The Drake Bulldogs claimed their fifth Pioneer Football League championship with a 9-2 record, 7-1 in the PFL, tying with San Diego. The co-championship was Drake's first conference title since 2004. The Bulldogs won nine games for just the fourth time in school history and went undefeated in six home contests to stretch their Drake Stadium winning streak to 10 games dating back to 2010. In the title-clinching game Drake defeated previous nemesis Dayton 37-14 for its first win over the Flyers since 2006, and first in Des Moines since 1995.


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VIDEO: HC Chris Creighton | RB Patrick Cashmore | CB Michael Lahart | RB Trey Morse | DT John Sawhill | QB Mike Piatkowski 

18 BULLDOGS EARN ALL-PFL HONORS: A total of 18 Bulldogs received recognition from the Pioneer Football League when 2011 all-conference honors were handed out Nov. 22:

PFL Offensive Player of the Year-QB Mike Piatkowski
PFL Freshman Defensive Player of the Year-LB Travis Merritt

First Team All-PFL (4):
OFFENSE-QB Mike Piatkowski (Sr.; Wheaton, Ill.), T Evan Lawrence (Sr.; Moline, Ill.)
DEFENSE-LB Tyler Moorehead (Sr.; Mason City, Iowa), unanimous
SPECIAL TEAMS--P Billy Janssen (5th-Yr. Sr.; Round Lake Beach, Ill.)

Second Team All-PFL (6):
OFFENSE--C Chris Wilson (Sr.; Homer Glen, Ill.)
DEFENSE--DE Brandon Coleman (Jr.; Cary, Ill.), DE John Sawhill (Sr., Jefferson, Iowa), LB Travis Merritt (RS-Fr.; Johnston, Iowa) and CB Michael Lahart (5th-Yr. Sr.; Chariton, Ill.)
SPECIAL TEAMS-K Billy Janssen (5th-Yr. Sr.; Round Lake Beach, Ill.)

Honorable Mention All-PFL (8):
OFFENSE--WR Drew Blackmon (Sr.; Florissant, Mo.), J-Back Nathan Paddock (Sr.; Lee's Summit, Mo.), TE Kevin Marshall (Jr.; Glen Ellyn, Ill.), RB Patrick Cashmore (5th-Yr. Sr.; Kansas City, Mo.), OL Stephen Flynn (5th-Yr. Sr.; Davenport, Iowa), OL Dan Clinton (5th-Yr. Sr.; Gurnee, Ill.)

DEFENSE-DT David Witkiewicz (Sr.; Hales Corners, Wisc.), LB Jeff Grovak (5th-Yr. Sr.; Mt. Prospect, Ill.)

NINE BULLDOGS RECOGNIZED WITH ACADEMIC ALL-PFL HONORS: A league-best nine Drake student-athletes were named Academic All-PFL-2 first-team, 7 second-team-tying for the most Drake selections since the PFL began in 1993. Drake also had nine in 1998 and 1999.

First Team Academic All-PFL:
CB/PR Michael Lahart, 5th-Year Senior (Chariton, Iowa), 3.89, Pharmacy
LB Tyler Moorehead, Senior (Mason City, Iowa), 3.66, Pharmacy

Second Team Academic All-PFL:
RB Patrick Cashmore, 5th-Year Senior (Kansas City, Mo.), 3.30, Marketing/Management
OL Avery Fuhs, Senior (Chariton, Iowa), 3.47, Biology/Chemistry
OL Evan Lawrence, Senior (Moline, Ill.), 3.39, Accounting/Finance
DE Brandon Coleman, Junior (Cary, Ill.), 3.63, Education
LB Travis Merritt, Sophomore (Johnston, Iowa), 3.65, Biology
DE John Sawhill, Senior (Jefferson, Iowa), 3.42, Accounting
K/P Billy Janssen, 5th-Year Sr. (Round Lake Beach, Ill.), 3.20, Physics/Math/Comp Science


  • The Bulldogs have won or shared five PFL titles since 1993 when the league began: 1995, '98, 2000 (co-champions), '04 and '11 (co-champions;
  • Drake ended the season winners of 10 straight home games, its longest streak since 1995-97 (also 10). From 1994-97 Drake went 14 games without a loss at home (13-0-1).
  • Head coach Chris Creighton is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year; the winner is to be announced Jan. 6.
  • The Bulldogs placed 18 players on the All-PFL teams, including Offensive Player of the Year Mike Piatkowski (QB) and Freshman Defensive Player of the Year Travis Merritt (LB);
  • Nine Bulldogs were named to the Academic All-PFL rosters, including two first teamers: CB Michael Lahart and LB Tyler Moorehead;
  • CB Michael Lahart was named Capital One Academic All-America for 2011, the first Bulldog to receive the honor since 2005 and just the eighth Drake player all-time to do so (10 awards by eight student-athletes). Lahart and LB Tyler Moorehead were named Capital One Academic All-District VI. Lahart also received the Missouri Valley Conference's State Farm "Good Neighbor Award" for sportsmanship and work off the field;
  • Drake led the PFL in rushing defense (77.2, 2nd in the nation FCS), scoring defense (17.8, 7th FCS), tackles for loss (7.7, 13th FCS), yards per play allowed (4.4, tie), Red Zone defense (62.9%) and time of possession (31:19); ranked 2nd in total defense (295.5, 10th FCS) and passing efficiency (149.23, 12th FCS); and 3rd in sacks (3.6, 5th FCS) and passing efficiency defense (113.9; 22nd FCS). Other high ranks nationally included passing offense (272.5; 4th PFL, 17th FCS).
  • QB Mike Piatkowski, Drake's No. 2 all-time passer, ranked 11th in the nation (FCS) in passing efficiency (151.4; 1st PFL) and 21st in total offense (253.8; 5th PFL). He had three 300-yard passing games.
  • Piatkowski threw a career-best 25 TDs for the season-second-highest single-season figure in Drake history-including 12 in the season's final four games. He notched five games with at least three touchdowns, and two with four.
  • Piatkowski threw for a career-best 2,934 passing yards, second-most in a season in program history, and topped the 275-yard mark five times.
  • RB Patrick Cashmore rushed for a career-best 841 yards and seven touchdowns on 195 carries (4.3), and had four 100-yard rushing games. The fifth-year senior tallied a career-best 160 yards and scored two TDs in Drake's dramatic 31-24 victory over Jacksonville (11/5) to earn PFL co-Offensive Player of the Week. For the season he lost just 21 yards on his 195 carries and finished his career with seven 100-yard rushing games.
  • Punter/kicker Billy Janssen was twice named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week and ranked fifth in the nation in punting (43.3; No. 1 PFL). He tied for second in the PFL in field goals (12), and was sixth in scoring ( 70 points) to earn third-team All-America by College Sports Madness.
  • In addition to his 43.3-yard punting average, Janssen had 11 punts of 50 yards or more, placed 16 inside the 20 and had just nine touchbacks. His 83-yard field goal vs. Jacksonville (11/5) was third-longest in Drake history, longest in PFL history and one of the 20 longest in FCS history.
  • Janssen was 12-16 on field-goal attempts and 34-37 on point-after attempts to account for his 70 points. He finished his career with a school record for PAT accuracy at .958 (69-72).
  • Janssen was one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Award, given annually to the Football Championship Subdivision, Div. II, Div. III, NAIA or NJCAA placekicker that excels on the football field and in the community, an d was twice named National Punter of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards and once a National All-Star by College Sporting News.
  • DE Brandon Coleman led the team with a career-high 12.0 sacks and tied for 10th in the FCS (4th PFL) at 1.09/game. He was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week for Drake's win at Butler Sept. 24 (2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks);
  • LB Tyler Moorehead led Drake in tackles (78; 55 solo; T-5th PFL) and led the PFL (T-8th FCS) in tackles for loss (21.0; 1.91/game), while figuring sixth in the PFL, tied for 16th FCS in sacks (10.0; 0.95/game)

HEAD COACH CHRIS CREIGHTON: Drake football has played four seasons under the direction of head coach Chris Creighton, who has compiled a 30-14 record (.682), including victories in 28 of the Bulldogs' last 38 contests (.737). Creighton's .682 winning percentage is the best by a head coach in school history, and his home record is an astonishing 20-3 (.870).

  • Creighton was named one of 20 finalists for the 2011 Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year Award.
  • His 30 wins in his first four seasons are the most by a head coach in school history in his first four seasons at the helm. Creighton's total is six greater than that of Rob Ash (1989-06), who compiled a record of 24-15-1 in his first four seasons (1989-92).
  • Creighton ranks No. 20 in career winning percentage (.767) among all head coaches with at least five seasons at four-year colleges, finishing 2011 with a record of 125-38 in his 15 seasons of coaching.
  • Creighton was named a 2011 winner of the Giant Steps Award presented by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports as part of National Student-Athlete Day on April 6, 2011. Creighton, awarded for the Coaching category, was one of just five 2011 winners of the Giant Steps Award, given annually to individuals who use sport to positively affect social change, actualizing the mission of the NCAS. The awards honor student-athletes, athletic administrators, civic leaders, coaches, parents, organizations, and other individuals who demonstrate an outstanding ability to manage life on and off the field, and who demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of society.
  • His Wabash teams won North Coast Athletic Conference titles in four of his seven seasons at the Division III school in Crawfordsville, Ind.
  • In four seasons at Ottawa (Kansas) his teams won two Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference titles (1997, 2000), its first two since 1972.
  • An All-America quarterback at Kenyon (Ohio) College, Creighton led the school to its only North Coast Athletic Conference title in 1989 and was named conference player of the year. He was inducted into the Kenyon College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Creighton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1991 and a master's degree from Concordia (Ill.) University in 1993.
  • Creighton was hired Dec. 22, 2007, as the 25th head coach in the history of Drake football.

Chris Creighton's Head Coaching Career:
Drake University                                2008-present            30-14 (.682)
Wabash College                               2001-07                    63-15 (.808)
Ottawa (Kansas) University               1997-2000                 32-9 (.780)
Totals                                             15 seasons             125-38 (.767)

PIATKOWSKI'S RECORD-SETTING DAY: Mike Piatkowski broke the NCAA FCS single-game record for completion percentage (min. 30 comp.) in Drake's Oct. 1 win over Campbell, completing 30 of 33 passes, 90.9% (since broken). That topped the previous standard of 88.9% set by Appalachian State's Richie Williams vs. Furman, Oct. 9, 2004 (40-45). Piatkowski threw for a career-high 342 yards and tied his career best with 3 touchdowns to fuel the Bulldogs' 31-14 win, and earned his first PFL Offensive Player of the Week honor, along with National co-Offensive Player of the Week by The Sports Network/Fathead.com and National co-QB of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA).


  • DE Brandon Coleman was named PFL Defensive Player of the Week for his 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in Drake's 24-14 league-opening win at Butler Sept. 24.
  • QB Mike Piatkowski earned Offensive Player of the Week after setting an NCAA FCS record for single-game completion percentage (90.9%, 30-33) versus Campbell (10/1). It was Piatkowski's first such honor and the first time a Bulldog was named Offensive POW since Week 1 of 2007 (Cole Ingle).
  • RB Nathan Paddock was named PFL Offensive Player of the Week for games of Oct. 8 and
  • P/K Billy Janssen earned Special Teams Player of the Week off Drake's 41-26 win at Morehead State (10/8).
  • LB Tyler Moorehead earned his first career player of the week honor for his three-sack performance at Marist (10/29), earning co-Defensive Player of the Week honors.
  • RB Patrick Cashmore earned co-Offensive Player of the Week for the first time and Janssen collected his second of the year for their roles in Drake's 31-24 defeat of Jacksonville (11/5). Cashmore rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, while Janssen booted an 83-yard punt, averaged 48.7, and was 4-4 on PATs, 1-1 on field goal attempts.
  • Piatkowski won Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in 2011 for Drake's Nov. 12 victory over Dayton, which clinched a share of the PFL championship. He threw for 285 yards and tied his career high with four touchdowns to lead Drake to its 37-14 win.

EIGHT BULLDOGS EARNED 11 WEEKLY CFPA HONORS: Eight players earned weekly recognition from the College Football Performance Awards with 11 awards in 2011:

  • DE Brandon Coleman earned honorable mention recognition for Defensive Line Performer of the Week for the game at North Dakota (9/1) when he had 3.0 sacks;
  • WR Drew Blackmon earned honorable mention vs. Grand View (9/10) when he tied his career with 9 receptions for 118 yards and two TDs;
  • Versus Missouri S&T (9/17) the CFPA recognized K/P Billy Janssen for both kicking and punting (3-3 PAT; 2-2 FG; 47.0 ypp) and LB Tyler Moorehead for his 9 tackles, 1.0 sack, 3.0 tackles-for-loss and blocked punt;
  • Drake's 31-14 defeat of Campbell (10/1) earned QB Mike Piatkowski recognition as national co-Quarterback of the Week (90.9% completions, 342 yards 3 TDs) and Janssen again as honorable mention kicker/punter (4-4 PAT; 1-1 FG; 48.0 yards per punt);
  • Janssen was named again after Drake's win at Morehead State (10/8), along with RB Nathan Paddock who was named honorable mention;
  • DT John Sawhill was recognized with honorable mention status for his team-leading 8 tackles and a sack at San Diego (10/15);
  • Janssen was recognized for the third time, and first time as National Punter of the Week, for his 52.0-yard average and long of 70 yards on three punts in Drake's 50-0 win over Valparaiso (10/22);
  • Moorehead earned honorable mention again at Marist (10/29) for his 3-sack, 4.5-TFL, 1 FF performance;
  • Janssen again was named National Punter of the Week by the CFPA after his 83-yard punt and 48.7-yard average vs. Jacksonville (11/5), while CB Michael Lahart earned honorable mention recognition at his position.

PIATKOWSKI MOVES UP CAREER PASSING CHART: Drake QB Mike Piatkowski climbed from seventh to second on Drake's career passing yards list in 2011, and stands poised to take over the top spot in 2012. He will enter the year with 6,927 yards, trailing No. 1 Ira Vandever (7,868) by 741 yards. He began 2011 with 3,993 yards, and moved past previous No. 6 Rick Casko (3,935; 1977-80) at North Dakota (9/1); current Drake wide receivers coach and then-No. 5 Jeff Martin (4,365; 1973-76) vs. Grand View (9/10); previous No. 4 Ron Royer (4,677) vs. Missouri S&T; previous No. 3 Gary Yagelski (4,795) at Butler (10/24) and previous No. 2 Connor Jostes (6,525) vs. Jacksonville (11/5). The top five list is below:

1) 7,868-Ira Vandever (1999-2002)
2) 6,927-Mike Piatkowski (2009-curent)
2) 6,525-Connor Jostes (2002-05)
4) 4,795-Gary Yagelski (1979-82)
5) 4,677-Ron Royer (1963-66)

1) 3,239-Ira Vandever (2002)
2) 2,934-Mike Piatkowski (2011)
3) 2,646-Connor Jostes (2003)

1) 32-Ira Vandever (2002)
2) 25-Mike Piatkowski (2011)
3) 23-Steve Osterberger (1989)

AT HOME IN DRAKE STADIUM: Drake has won 10 home games in a row and is 20-3 at Drake Stadium since Chris Creighton became head coach in 2008. The present streak is the longest stretch of home wins since 1995-97 when Drake also won 10 in a row. From 1994-97 Drake went 14 games without a home loss (13-0-1). Under Coach Creighton Drake is 14-2 in PFL home games, including wins each of its last eight conference games at Drake Stadium.

BLOCK PARTY: Drake blocked eight kicks in 2011 (3 FGA, 2 PAT, 3 Punts), tied for third-most by any NCAA FCS school. LB Tyler Moorehead had two blocks-a punt that was returned for a TD vs. Missouri S&T (9/17) and a 37-yard field goal attempt vs. Campbell (10/1). CB Dustin Davis blocked a 20-yard FG attempt vs. Grand View (9/10); DE John Sawhill blocked a PAT in the second quarter vs. Missouri S&T (9/17); S Michael Ratelle blocked a punt in the first quarter at Morehead State (10/8) and CB Michael Lahart blocked a second quarter 29-yard field goal in the same game. Ratelle blocked his second punt of the season at Marist (10/29), and later in the same game DT David Witkiewicz blocked a PAT.

EXCELLING ON AND OFF FIELD: Two Drake fifth-year seniors have received significant off-the-field honors this year. CB/PR Michael Lahart was announced Sept. 29 as a candidate for the National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Award, and a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation. LB Stoy Hall was named Sept. 20 as the first Bulldog to make the prestigious 22-man Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team for his community work. He will take part in events at the Jan. 3, 2012 Sugar Bowl and be recognized at the game.

OVERTIME NOT SO COMMON OCCURRENCE FOR DRAKE: Drake's Sept. 10 overtime win against Grand View was just the third played by the Bulldogs, and the first since Oct. 25, 2003. That game was a 51-45 loss at Valparaiso. Drake's first overtime game came a year earlier, Oct. 12, 2002, when the Bulldogs defeated Albany 49-42 in double overtime at Drake Stadium. Drake is 2-0 at home in overtime games and 0-1 on the road.

LEADERSHIP FROM THE CAPTAINS: Drake's players voted during the summer to elect one team captain for the entire season, and chose fifth-year senior cornerback/return specialist Michael Lahart to serve in that role. One game captain has joined Lahart each week: Wk. 1 at North Dakota (9/1/11), Wk. 3 vs. Missouri S&T (9/17),  Wk. 7 at San Diego (10/15) & Wk. 9 at Marist (10/29)-Fifth-year senior kicker Billy Janssen; Wk. 2 vs. Grand View (9/10)-senior linebacker Tyler Moorehead; Wk. 4 at Butler (9/24)-junior linebacker Jake Underwood; Wk. 5 vs. Campbell (10/1)-sophomore cornerback Joshua Matthews; Wk. 6 at Morehead State (10/8)-senior DT David Witkiewicz; Wk. 8 vs. Valparaiso (10/22)-senior DE E.J. Walter.

2011 CHANNING SMITH AWARD WINNERS: The Bulldogs celebrated their championship and handed out team awards at the 114th Annual Channing Smith Awards Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 20. Award winners are as follows: GENE SCHULTZ AWARD: Michael Lahart; MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Mike Piatkowski; THEME AWARD: Patrick Cashmore; COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE: Dan Clinton; TEAM PLAYER AWARD: Stoy Hall; TORCH BEARER AWARD: Michael Lahart; HAMMER AWARDS: Kevin Marshall, John Sawhill, Michael Ratelle; SCOUT TEAM PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: John Hugunin, John McMahon, J.T. Teague; (HELMET) BONES AWARD: Jake Underwood.

BULLDOGS AMONG THE BEST: Drake ranks No. 20 in overall victories (572) among the 123 schools that make up the Division I Football Championships Subdivision (FCS). The Nov. 12 season finale vs. Dayton was the 1,086th in 118 years of football for the school, dating back to the initial campaign in 1893. The Bulldogs' all-time record is 572-485-29 (.540).


Last time Drake played an overtime game -at Drake 28, Grand View 21 (one overtime), Sept. 10, 2011

Last time Drake played an overtime game on road -Valparaiso 51, Drake 45, (one overtime), Oct. 25, 2003

Last shutout by Drake - 50-0 vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last shutout by Drake at home - 50-0 vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last time Drake shut out - 16-0 at North Dakota, Sept. 1, 2011

Last time Drake shut out at home - 37-0 by San Diego, Oct. 21, 2006

Last Drake kickoff return for touchdown - 90 yards, Augustine Agyei vs. Waldorf, Sept. 8, 2007

Last Drake punt return for a touchdown - 49 yards, Mike Lahart vs. Marist, Oct. 2, 2010

Last time Drake blocked a punt for a touchdown - 28 yards, Brent Shelton vs. Missouri S&T, Sept. 17, 2011

Last time Drake blocked a punt for a safety - Mike Bialas vs. Butler, Oct. 6, 2007

Last Drake pass interception for a touchdown - 65 yards, Jake Underwood vs. Valparaiso, Oct. 22, 2011

Last Drake fumble return for a touchdown - 22 yards, Mike Piatkowski vs. Davidson, Oct. 23, 2010

Last Drake player to rush for 100 yards - 160 (35 carries) Patrick Cashmore vs. Jacksonville, Nov. 5, 2011

Two Drake players 100+ rush yards same game - 101 yards (19 carries), Willie Cashmore; 216 yards in (27 carries), Scott Phaydavong vs. Jacksonville, Nov. 10, 2006

Last Drake player to have 100 or more yards receiving - 163 yards (5 receptions, 2 TDs), Nathan Paddock at Morehead State, Oct. 8, 2011

Last Drake player to pass for more than 300 yards - 310 yards, Mike Piatkowski at Morehead State, Oct. 8, 2011

Last Drake player to rush for three touchdowns - 3, Scott Phaydavong vs. Valparaiso Sept. 29, 2007

Last Drake player to catch three touchdowns - 3, Jason Jones vs. Jacksonville, Oct. 4, 2003

Last Drake player to pass for four touchdowns - 4, Mike Piatkowski vs. Dayton, Nov. 12, 2011

Last Drake player to pass for five touchdowns - 5, Connor Jostes vs. Upper Iowa, Nov. 6, 2004

Last Drake player to score three touchdowns - 3, Scott Phaydavong vs. Valparaiso, Sept. 29, 2007

Last Drake player to make four field goals - 4, Billy Janssen at Morehead State, Oct. 8, 2011 


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