MSU tops Drake in dramatic fashion

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Sophomore kicker Shavi Bash nailed a 23-yard field goal in the third overtime Saturday as the Morehead State football team stayed in the hunt for the Pioneer Football League title with a 38-35 victory over Drake at Jayne Stadium.

Morehead State, which thwarted Drake scoring chances in the first and third extra periods with interceptions, improved to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Drake, which had won four straight over the Eagles since MSU’s last series win in 2007, slipped to 4-5 and 3-3 in the league.

Bash, who had a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked in the first overtime, sent the ball down the middle and true to seal the win in the nearly four-hour game.

“I told our team we wanted to get the final three weeks of the regular season still with a chance to win a PFL championship, and here we are,” said Head Coach Rob Tenyer. “After halftime, I really thought we were going to be able to score a lot more often, but this was a chess match. They were taking away some things we normally do well. So, we just kept on fighting and trying to find a way to win. Our freshman running backs played their tails off.”

Freshman Ryan Watkins had 44 yards and a touchdown, and fellow newcomer Brent Holman finished with 36 yards.

Morehead State’s two quarterbacks, junior Austin Gahafer and sophomore Jack Sherry, combined for 324 yards and four scores, including three to the PFL’s top receiver in senior Justin Cornwall. He piled up a season-high 134 yards on 10 catches, including a 25-yard touchdown strike from Sherry on the first play of the second extra frame. Cornwall finished with 226 all-purpose yards.

Before leaving with an injury, Gahafer managed a 22-for-40 day with two scores and 229 yards. He hit Cornwall twice in the end zone, including a go-ahead tally with 1:37 left in the third quarter.

Sherry entered the game midway through the fourth frame and proceeded to connect with junior slot man Jake Raymond for a 12-yard score to give the Eagles a 28-21 lead. The Bulldogs tied the game on a six-yard touchdown pass with just 38 seconds left in regulation.

“Give Jack credit,” Tenyer added. “It’s the hardest job in the world to be No. 2 and a backup quarterback, but he has come in numerous times and performed very well.”

Seniors Trey Watkins and Justin Grier intercepted Drake signal-caller Andy Rice in the overtime periods. For Grier, it was his nation-leading seventh pickoff of the year. The Eagles now have 14 picks on the year.

“That has kind of been our modus operandi right now,” Tenyer said. “We are good at takeaways, and once again we came up with some big plays to give our offense a chance.”

Senior linebacker Luke Keller, who missed the first five games recovering from a life-threatening medical condition, chalked up a team-high 14 tackles and recorded 4.5 stops for losses, including two sacks. Junior linebacker Ryan Bennett followed with 13 tackles. The Eagles tallied 11 tackles in the Bulldog backfield.

Drake running back Conley Wilkins churned up 205 yards with a score on 31 carries, while Rice was 22-of-38 for 220 yards.

Today’s win sets up a matchup next weekend with undefeated and PFL rival Dayton at Jayne Stadium. The Flyers will enter the game 5-0 in the league, and the game sets up as a potential PFL title contest. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.

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