Washburn’s Jahmil Taylor, senior linebacker, came away from Thursday night’s game satisfied with the performance of his defense. The Ichabods were tested right out of the gate when the University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers took their first three drives down into Washburn’s red zone.
“It’s just one of those things, you gotta dig down deep and pull it out,” said Taylor.
The Bods defense was able to stop UNK on two of the first three drives, stopping the Lopers from scoring with a blocked field goal and a goal line stop at the two yard line. The third drive by the Lopers ended with the first touchdown of the game. UNK would keep a 7-0 lead until the beginning of the second quarter when Ichabods quarterback Mitch Buhler connected with receiver Matt Kobbeman at the 9:12 mark to tie the game at 7-7.
Buhler, who had a position battle with Joel Piper through fall camp, was happy to get that first touchdown of the season.
“It was definitely a pressure reliever,” said Buhler. “It was good to score.”
Piper also saw action in the second quarter and was able to take the offense down to the Kearney eight yard line where place kicker Jeremy Linn put one through the uprights with 32 seconds left to give Washburn a 10-7 lead going into halftime.
Washburn got the ball to start the second half, drove 75 yards and topped it off with a rushing touchdown by junior running back Hayden Groves. The running game started to come alive in the second half and helped Buhler get into a rhythm. Head coach Craig Schurig was happy with the second half performance of his backfield led by Groves.
“He ran extremely hard, had a lot of confidence. Ran the ball out of the backfield on a couple screens and got us going,” said Schurig.
Kearney answered back with a score of their own to make it 17-14 going into the fourth quarter. At 14:56 of the fourth quarter, Buhler connected with Alec Steuber for his second passing touchdown of the game, making it 24-14. Kearney only had one more drive that threatened to score when they started at the Washburn 36 yard line. The Ichabod defense once again stepped up and kept the Lopers from scoring with a third red zone stop, this time at the 7 yard line. This would be the last time that the Kearney would have possession of the ball.
Washburn’s running game shouldered the load the rest of the way as they ran out the seven and a half minutes left in the game.
“When you can run the ball at the end of the game and have the lead, that’s a great thing,” said Schurig.
Washburn’s defense ended the game with two sacks and allowed 349 yards of total offense. Offensively, Buhler finished with 179 yards passing and two touchdowns, Groves had 101 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Kicker Jeremy Linn hit a field goal and three extra points.