Piatkowski Passes Drake Past Butler

Piatkowski Passes Drake Past Butler
Wide Receiver Brendan Shannon

DES MOINES, IOWA -- Quarterback Mike Piatkowski passed for 366 yards and five touchdowns to lead host Drake to a 45-20 victory over Butler at Drake Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10.  The loss kept Butler from securing outright possession of the Pioneer Football League championship.

Piatkowski had four touchdown passes in the second half to help the host Bulldogs put the game away.  He hit Grahm Butler with a 29-yard strike midway through the third quarter, after Butler had closed to within one points, 14-13.  He then found Gary Scott with a pair of scoring passes to stretch the margin to 35-13.

The senior signal caller connected on 29 of 40 passes to spark the win.

The loss snapped Butler's seven-game winning streak, and left the Indianapolis Bulldogs with a final 8-3 overall record and a 7-1 PFL mark.  Drake improved to 6-1 in the league and can grab a share of the title with a win in its final game at Jacksonville on Nov. 17.  San Diego, 4-1 heading into a home contest with Morehead State, also has a shot at a piece of the league crown.

Butler, playing without PFL rushing leader Trae Heeter (injury), actually struck first in the game on a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Lancaster to wide receiver Derek O'Connor with 5:48 left in the first quarter.  That play capped a 78-yard drive that included four passes to O'Connor.

But Piatkowski answered in the second quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joey Orlando, and Scott scored on a six-yard run shortly before halftime to give Drake the lead for good.

Lancaster hit wide receiver with a 45-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to cut Drake's margin to one, before Drake ran off 28 unanswered points.  Butler's final score came late in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by Lancaster.

Shannon, coming off an injury a week earlier, wound up catching eight passes in the game for 126 yards.  His touchdown grab was his team-leading eighth of the season.

Lancaster completed 19 of 37 passes for 248 yards, while Don Stewart, playing in place of the injured Heeter, led Butler's ground attack with 75 yards on 20 carries.

Defensive back Sean Grady topped Butler's defense with a game-high 13 tackles, while junior Jayme Szafranski added eight.  Linebackers Jordan Massey and Jordan Ridley each came up with a pass interception in the contest.

Butler's eight wins this season are the second-most for the program in the past two decades and the PFL title is the team's second in four years.  The seven-game winning streak is the second-longest under head coach Jeff Voris and the longest in the PFL this year.