DES MOINES, Iowa. – Drake scored 14 unanswered fourth quarter points and handed Jacksonville its first loss of the season with a 28-24 score at Drake Stadium.
"We didn't play winning football in a tough environment on the road," said Head Coach Kerwin Bell. "These guys (Drake) played a really solid football game. Our big issues were turnovers and third downs."
Drake (4-4, 3-2), led by quarterback Andy Rice, amassed 380 yards of offense to Jacksonville's (6-1, 3-1) 336. The Bulldogs went 11-18 on third down and forced one more turnover than Jacksonville.
The winning score for Drake, set up by a Ulysses Bryant fumble, was a 19-yard pass from Rice to Andrew Yarwood with 03:14 remaining in the game. The Dolphins were forced to punt on offense and Rice rushed for a first down on the ensuing possession to give the hosts an upset win.
Rice went 24-39 for 267 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target was tight end Eric Saubert, who hauled in three of his scoring passes and totaled 118 yards receiving.
The Dolphins came out on fire in the third quarter and scored touchdowns on their first two drives. Quarterback Kade Bell engineered an eight play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Orlando Thomas. On the following drive, Bryant hit pay dirt on a three-yard touchdown. Bell finished the day 22-38 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant was the leading rusher with 21 carries for 104 yards. Damien Strange led the Dolphin receivers with five catches for 70 yards.
Jacksonville scored first with a 47-yard field goal from Brandon Behr to cap Jacksonville's opening drive. That would be all the scoring in the first quarter as both teams had combined for four turnovers, with two Bulldog fumble recoveries and two Dolphin picks.
In the second quarter, Drake converted on a pair of third down opportunities in the red zone with Rice finding Saubert for 13 and nine-yard touchdown passes on back-to-back drives.
The Dolphins answered before the end of the half with a 33-yard pass from Bell to Brian Burnett. Bell finished the first half 13-20 for 133 yards.
Jacksonville is on the road again next week to take on unbeaten Dayton with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Welcome Stadium.