Defenses steal show in Drake spring game

DES MOINES – Andy Rice threw for 111 yards and the game’s only touchdown, but both Drake defenses stole the show during the Bulldogs’ spring game at Drake Stadium on Saturday.

Rice’s White squad beat the Blue squad 7-3, but the defenses accounted for 15 sacks on the afternoon to take the spotlight away from the offenses.

“Our defensive line has the opportunity to be special,” Drake coach Chris Creighton said. “I don’t know that we’re there right now, but in my five years here our defensive line has always provided leadership and I think we’re going to be looking to those guys to be leaders in our football program this year.”

Brett Park missed most of 2012 with an injury but finished with five tackles and two sacks on the day, while White teammate Brandon Coleman also had a pair of sacks.

Rice’s touchdown pass came in the first quarter and it was a 45-yard strike to Neko Graf. Eric Saubert led the Bulldogs with four catches for 22 yards, but the White squad rushed for just three yards on nine carries. Rice was 11-for-19 through the air.

The Blue squad’s only points of the day came on a Spencer Lee 30-yard field goal in the second quarter. Nick Ens was 11-for-26 through the air for the Blue squad and compiled 175 yards and an interception. J.T. Teague had four catches for 73 yards and Zach Zlabis added 68 yards on two catches.

The Blue team’s defense was led by Evan Erickson’s four tackles and two tackles for loss, while Bob Quilico and Brad Duwe also each had four tackles. Neal Walters had two tackles and two sacks.

“I think our defense looked really good today and our only turnover came at the very end of the game,” Creighton said. “Defense and turnovers win games, so I was happy to see the ball not being turned over and great defense being played.”