Missed opportunities, turnovers cost Bods on the road

Washburn offensive players celebrate during their win over Northeastern State University Sept. 15.

Drew Egnoske

Washburn’s three game winning streak came to an end last Saturday as the Bods fell to the University of Central Oklahoma 35-20. Washburn dominated UCO last season 48-3.The Bronchos finished 2-9 last season and were coming off a five game losing streak dating to last year.

Despite the final, the game was closer than meets the eye.

“We missed many opportunities and we couldn’t afford to keep making mistakes,” said Steve Dieckhaus, Washburn offensive lineman.

Dieckhaus, among others, was stunned by the loss since Washburn was a clear favorite and  the game was not suppose to be a contest for the Bods.

On paper, the burden of the loss falls heavily upon the offense. They had many opportunities for big plays but most of quarterback Mitch Buhler’s passes seemed to be out of the reach of his receivers, or when they were on target, they were dropped. Buhler went 23 for 48 with 368 passing yards accumulating two touchdowns and two interceptions. One crucial drive early in the first quarter saw the Ichabods drive down to the Bronchos eight yard line before Buhler was picked off in the end zone. Eight of Washburn’s 15 drives ended in three and outs or turnovers.

“We need to execute better and take advantage of our opportunities,” said Craig Schurig, Washurn’s head coach.

Despite all of these shortcomings, Washburn had the lead at halftime. In the second half, Washburn scored first bumping the lead to 14-6. It seemed the Ichabods were getting ready to take over the game. Instead, the Bronchos came back with a vengeance scoring 29 second half points. UCO took the lead late in the third quarter off of a pick-six by defensive lineman Colton Byford who intercepted a screen pas from Buhler. The Bronchos took a 20-14 lead and held the Bods scoreless until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter.

One of the few bright spots  for the Ichabods is that the loss comes early in the season and should help them to make the proper corrections.

“Even in defeat there is a lesson learned,” said Jake Cervantes, Washburn defensive tackle. “We know what we have to do to keep pushing forward as a team and play like we know we are capable of playing and we will make that happen.”

Washburn was without starting linebacker Jahmil Taylor, who missed last week’s game against UCO as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain. Taylor is listed as day-to-day but coaches are hopeful that he will be ready to go for the next game. Washburn, (who has had multiple injuries at the linebacker postion), looked to junior linebackers Ryan Macken and Isaac Wright to fill the void. Both linebacksers contributed six tackles.Macken has recorded 23 total tackles this season, currently tied for the third most on the team with free safety Calvin Kenney.

The Bods had more offensive yardage with 414 to the Bronchos 387, but costly mistakes and a lack of a rushing game doomed WU. Washburn only managed 46 yards on the groud. The Ichabods know that in order to be successful the rest of the year and not experience any more setbacks they must remain focused and not take any games lightly.

Washburn (3-1, 3-1 MIAA) will have the chance to redeem the loss starting Saturday as they play host to the Southwest Baptist University Bearcats. SBU is 1-3 this year with their first win coming last week against Missouri Southern State Univeristy.

“We will come back this week focused on SBU and excited to not only play our next game at home but be able to put on a better show for WU nation,” said Dieckhaus.