Des Moines, Iowa – Connor Jostes threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another to lead Drake to a 37-10 Pioneer Football League victory over Valpo. The Crusaders scored their touchdown on a 5-yard run by Joe Milazzo in the fourth quarter. Andrew McCawley added a 47-yard field goal in the final period.
Milazzo’s score culminated an 8-play, 64-yard drive. McCawley’s season-long field goal was set up by linebacker Wes Kosko’s second fumble recovery of the game. Kosko pounced on the ball after it was jarred loose by defensive tackle Douglas Howard.
Jostes, who completed 11 of 15 passes in the first half, connected with tight end Daniel Marx for two first-half scores – from 6 and 2 yards. Valpo (3-6, 0-3 PFL) had its best first-half scoring opportunity halted at the Drake 1-yard line on a fourth down and goal late in the second quarter.
Drake (6-2, 3-0 PFL), which has won five straight games, used nine plays and went 65 yards on the game’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Bulldogs found the end zone when Jostes completed a short pass to Marx, who stepped into the end zone with 11:45 left in the first quarter. Following a Valpo punt, Drake scored two plays later on wide receiver Jason Jones’ 25-yard end-around for a touchdown.
Interceptions hurt the Crusaders in the first half as quarterback Ryan Doerffler was picked off twice by Drake linebacker Eric Papp. The first occurred after Valpo linebacker Brandon Sturman forced a fumble that was recovered by Kosko at the Drake 25-yard line. Two plays later, Papp intercepted Doerffler at the Drake 5-yard line and returned the ball 45 yards. Tyler McGlade booted a 41-yard field goal to increase the lead to 17-0.
Papp’s second interception of Doerffler, at the Valpo 25-yard line, set up the Bulldogs’ next score – an 18-yard touchdown run by Jostes with 13:15 remaining in the second quarter. Drake’s final first-half tally came on a 2-yard scoring pass from Jostes to Marx in the back of the end zone with just under a minute left before halftime.
After Valpo was forced to punt on the first possession of the second half, Drake’s Michael Bialas scampered in from 28 yards to increase the advantage to 37-0 with 11:00 remaining.
Drake running back Scott Phaydavong led all rushers with 92 yards on 13 carries, while Bialas had 54 on seven attempts. Jostes finished with 128 passing yards, completing 12 of 16 passes.
Milazzo and Jeff Horton each rushed for 42 yards, while Doerffler completed 7 of 16 aerials for 41 yards.
Drake had 357 total yards to 190 for Valpo. The Bulldogs rushed for 217 yards, while passing for 140. Valpo rushed for 128 yards and finished with 62 passing yards.
Valpo, which has an open date next Saturday, will celebrate Parents’ Day by hosting Butler on Nov. 6 beginning at 1 p.m.