The Bods are in do-or-die mode with already two losses on the season, but Saturday’s sense of urgency transformed the team into a completely different mode as of late as they cruised by No. 24 Missouri Western 31-24.
“We knew we had our back against the wall,” said Jordan Brill, senior quarterback. “We came together this past week in practice and played the football we knew we were capable of.”
The Bods offense completed a 180 from their less than stellar performance two weeks ago in their loss to Central Missouri 28-14. The offense only converted seven first downs in the loss, however Saturday, racked up 27 first downs on 444 yards of total offense. Brill says it had a lot to do with the offensive line that allowed senior running back Ra’Shawn Mosley to rack up 210 yards, the third best single rushing performance in Washburn history.
“[The offensive line] did a phenomenal job today,” said Brill. “[Head coach Craig Schurig] called them out last week and they stepped up in a big way. There are still some areas that we can improve but it was a big change today.”
The Bods will hope to continue the momentum this Saturday as they host the Missouri Southern Lions. The Lions, 4-1 so far this year, will be out for revenge as last year’s Bod victory came down to the final seconds.
The Lions were in position to kick a game-winning field goal in the last minute of play, but after a bad snap the Bods recovered on downs and went on to win 14-13.
“Washburn deserved to win the game and we didn’t,” said Bart Tatum, Lions’ head coach. “This year is another year and we hope to go on the road and compete with a very talented Washburn team.”
Tatum is in his second year as head coach for the Lions, finally feels like things are falling into place.
“I’m pleased with the direction we are headed,” said Tatum. ” We are progressing slowly but each week we are improving.”
The Lions offense this year has been on a tear, ranked second in total offense in the MIAA. Running backs, freshman redshirt Renard Johnson and senior Ally Broussard, have taken the grunt of the load, rushing for 1,253 yards so far this season.
“We do things by committee,” said Tatum. “We have a couple backs that have taken the load. But we’ve played teams that are not doing so well as college programs right now. So the stats may be a little misleading.”
Tatum explains one of the keys on Saturday will be slowing down Mosley. Mosley is only 383 yards away from breaking Trent Hearn’s all-time rushing record.
“You don’t go into a game thinking you’re going to stop anything,” said Tatum. “A back like Mosley is going to get his yards, you just hope to slow him down. You just have to contain big plays and keep everything in front of you. Very rarely you are going to stop a back from gaining his yards.”
The Lions defense gives up an average of 158.3 yards per game on the ground.
“[The game] was just a crazy deal last year,” said Brill. “I’ve been keeping track of them the last couple of weeks and they have been playing great football. They have a great coach and know how to execute. We will have to approach this game like we did today and be really physical with them.”
Former Washburn standout defensive tackle Trey Lewis started his first game Sunday for the Atlanta Falcons. He had two solo tackles to help Atlanta win 26-16 against the Texans.