Ichabods set for nationally-televised game against Missouri Western

Neither rain nor lightning could dampen the spirits of the Washburn Ichabods Saturday in Joplin, Mo., as they were  forced to wait out a rain delay for over an hour.

Fortunately for the Ichabods the late start brought good news as they extended their winning streak to 3-0 against the Missouri Southern State University Lions with a final score of 30-14. 

Within the last decade Washburn has outscored Missouri Southern a whopping 338-234, Saturday’s game was no different.

“Our offensive coordinator, Rob Robinson, did a real nice job,” said Washburn head coach Craig Schurig. “We mixed up our formations a little bit to try to give Southern a different look. It worked and got us going. Our run game started going a little bit and with the way our receivers and quarterbacks are once we get the timing down and they start getting that momentum they’re pretty good.

“We got hot and really started making the plays that we were just missing in the first half.”

In the opening drive of the game, Missouri Southern was forced to punt after Lions’ senior quarterback, Collin Howard, endured the first of two sacks by Washburn senior defensive end Dakota Palan-Johnson and an incomplete pass. Washburn’s first drive would prove disappointing after a few misreads and a fumble by senior quarterback Dane Simoneau. Ichabod junior kicker Jeremy Linn delivered the first score of the game with a well-needed field goal. MSSU and WU played a punting game until the beginning of the second quarter, when the Lions put up seven points after a 5-yard touchdown reception by junior wide receiver Ne’Ronte Threatt that would close out the first half, 7-3.

Everything that could possibly go wrong for the Ichabods did in the beginning of the third quarter, leaving them stunned and a bit bruised. Washburn’s first two drives would result in a pair of sacks by MSSU junior defensive lineman Brandon Williams and an interception by Lions sophomore defensive back Demon Haire. An amped Ichabod defense regained the ball for its struggling offense through the help of a pair of sacks by junior linebacker Jahmil Taylor and sophomore defensive end Adebayo Oladapo for a total of negative 9 yards.

“We weren’t playing as ourselves, but once we got together on the sideline, started talking and communicating things started going,” said sophomore wide receiver, DeJuan Beard. “We just contined to trust ourselves and didn’t get away from what we knew. Trust and chemistry came back, we were off a little bit, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle.”

Washburn would remain unsuccessful until the final four minutes of the third, where senior quarterback, Dane Simoneau would hook up with Beard for his first of two touchdown receptions giving the Ichabods the lead at 10-7.

The Lions would regain their lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter with a rushing touchdown by freshman quarterback, Kyle Webster, putting the Lions up 14-10. Washburn would follow up with a 20-yard touchdown reception by sophomore wide receiver Ronnell Garner. The Ichabods’ next drive would end in a 30-yard reception for a touchdown by sophomore tight end, Toré Hurst, but a failed kick attempt by junior kicker Jeremy Linn would add only six points to Washburn’s lead. The Ichabod’s final score would come in the final four minutes of the game ending with an 11-yard touchdown reception by key sophomore wide receiver, DeJuan Beard. After scoring sixteen unanswered points the Ichabods were able to pull out their third consecutive win with a final score of 30-14. Senior quarterback Dane Simoneau was 23-for-45 with one interception and racked up 274 passing yards with four touchdowns, while senior running back, Justin Cooper had 83 yards on the ground.

This week’s matchup against rival, Missouri Western brings little preparation with much excitement. The Ichabods have three days worth of practice before they host the Griffons this Thursday at 7 p.m. in Yager Stadium. The game will be nationally televised as the CBS NCAA Division II game of the week, making this the first time these two will meet via television. In his tenth year at Washburn, Schurig knows Missouri Western will be no easy task. 

“They are one of the good teams in our conference and we’ve had really good games with them since I’ve been here for ten years,” said Schurig. ” It’s usually we match up really well with each other and basically it just comes down to fourth quarter. We need to play like we did against Southern and if we can play that way in the fourth quarter we’ll win.”