DES MOINES, Iowa- Jacksonville University football rushed for over 200 yards for the seventh time this season, falling to Drake University 52-7 to conclude the 2017 slate on Saturday.
"We were out-classed today in every facet of the game," Head Coach Ian Shields said. "We didn't play our best game, and I wish we could have made it a more competitive contest."
In his final game donning a Jacksonville uniform, quarterback Rylan Wells moved into a tie for third place in rushing touchdowns all-time, punching in a one-yard score in the second quarter. The redshirt-senior ran for 36 yards and threw for 90 more in the affair, capping off an offensive campaign that included 19 total offensive touchdowns.
JU was overpowered by a Bulldog squad that out-gained it 467-298, and won the turnover margin two-to-one. Quarterback Grant Kraemer threw for four touchdowns in the first half, while Brock Reichardt and Tyler Updegraff each ran in a score.
After turning the ball over on downs to start the game, the Dolphins allowed Drake to score three straight times, building a separating margin in the scoreboard that would last through the duration of the game.
Defensively, Thomas Oporto led the 'Phins with eight tackles, and forced a fumble in the second quarter that was recovered by senior Griffin Garland, which led Jacksonville's lone score. The Dolphins finished the year with 72 points off turnovers.
The duel on Johnny Bright Field at Drake Stadium marked the final outing for the team's 12 seniors, who have led the Dolphins to a 30-13 record over the last four seasons, including a two win increase in year two of the Shields era.
"We have a tremendous senior class, and they've accomplished a great deal," Shields said. "There's a lot of lessons to be learned, and we certainly learned some from those guys this year."
With the win, Drake improves to 7-4 on the season and 6-2 in Pioneer Football League play, holding sole possession of second place in the conference.
Jacksonville caps off a 7-4 season, 5-3 in the PFL. The Dolphins surged to multiple three game winning streaks in a season for the second time in three years, and have now posted their ninth non-losing mark in the last 10 years.
"Certainly it's been a good year, and there are a lot of things to be proud of," Shields concluded. "To win seven games this season is quite an accomplishment. We won several close games, and the team never quit fighting."