Ichabods dominate bowl game

Robert Burkett

In a season that has at times been a struggle and at times has unfolded with ease, Washburn put a final punctuation on a successful season.

Coming into the Lower, Inc. Kanza Bowl, Washburn’s offense had been hitting on all cylinders, winning their regular season finale 23-7 over Missouri Southern. Their opponent in the bowl game, Midwestern State, came in with the better record at 8-3 having just finished off their season with a 28-8 win over Northeastern State.

With blustery winds and a frigid temperature hovering in the mid-30s, Washburn bucked trends and took to the air throughout the game. In the first quarter, Washburn struck, getting on the board first with a long touchdown strike to Joe Hastings, senior receiver, for 74 yards.

After both teams punted back and forth playing the field position game, Washburn managed to get another score with a field goal from Steve Ivanisevic, senior kicker, with a 34-yard boot with the wind allowing the ball to sail through with room to spare.

After some more defensive posturing by both teams, Dane Simoneau, senior quarterback, finally made the first misstep by Washburn, throwing an interception that was returned to the Washburn 8-yard line, setting up MSU’s only score of the half.

The Ichabods responded, taking the ball back and shooting down the field right before the end of the half, culminating in a 34-yard touchdown catch by Torre Hurst to make the score 17-7 at the half.

In the third quarter, Washburn continued their offensive barrage. After stopping MSU on their opening possession, Washburn used strong field position and a versatile aerial attack to move down the field and cap off their opening drive with a 19-yard touchdown throw to DeJuan Beard, freshman receiver, bringing the score to 24-7.

MSU would then have successive three-and-out possessions bookended by two Ichabod possessions, each of which culminated in one-yard touchdown carries by Vershon Moore, sophomore running back, to make the score 38-7.

MSU would end the third quarter driving down the field and ending up with a score to start the fourth quarter. It would be the last time that Washburn would allow a score all season as the Ichabods began to pound the ground, running the ball and grinding away at the game clock.

Key pass plays contributed to Washburn moving the ball on downs and allowing them to cap off the game with one more score to bring the final score to 45-14 as Washburn romped all over Midwestern State in the second annual Lower, Inc. Kanza Bowl.

Hastings finished off the game with 10 catches for 223 yards and was voted the Washburn most outstanding player of the game. Simoneau finished up the game throwing 18-26 for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Vershon Moore also finished off the game rushing for 15 carries for 48 yards and 2 touchdown carries.

Afterwards, Washburn’s head coach reflected on the win.

“It was a great team effort,” said Craig Schurig. “Really the way we played the last five or six weeks of the season when the offense and defense fed off each other, set up by the special teams.”