first_imgScouting 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. Live Audio RewindDrake looks to move forward from its season opener at North Dakota where the Fighting Hawks broke open a close game at halftime with a 21-point third-quarter run on their way to a 47-7 win. The Bulldogs’ lone touchdown came late in third quarter when freshman quarterback Ian Corwin (Tulsa, Okla.) hit redshirt senior Devin Cates (Yuba City, Calif.) on 10-yard touchdown pass. Live Stats Buy Tickets Drake 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. DES MOINES, Iowa –  The Drake University football team opens the home portion of its 2019 season against NCAA Division II member Truman State Saturday at 6 p.m. at Drake Stadium. Saturday’s contest is the sixth all-time meeting between Drake (0-1) and Truman State. The last matchup between the two Bulldog teams was an overtime clash in 2014 at Drake Stadium. Drake won that game 13-7 after Conley Wilkins’ dive into the end zone on its first possession of overtime. It was the first game between the teams since 2002, and it snapped a two-game winning streak by Truman State. Story Links Live Video Scouting Truman StateTruman State begins its 2019 season with Saturday’s road contest in Des Moines. Truman, which finished 6-5 overall last season, is picked third in the 2019 Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason poll, earning one first-place vote. Truman State returns fourth-year starting quarterback Jaden Barr along with running back Jordan Salima and wide receiver Dante Ruffin. Salima earned first team all-GLVC honors last season with 743 rushing yards and six touchdowns and has caught 79 career passes for 536 yards while Ruffin snagged two touchdown catches. Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more