While many students were enjoying time with their families on the annual Family Day last Saturday, the football team cut their bonding time short to face their third-straight ranked opponent this season. They took on the University of Central Missouri Mules.
What started out as a high scoring affair quickly turned into a defensive chess match. Last time the two foes faced off, the Mules took down the Bods 62-42. This time, it was the Ichabods who came out on top, defeating the 16th ranked team in the nation 28-21.
To open up the game, the Ichabods received the ball but did not start the way they wanted to, offensively.
Starting quarterback Blake Peterson is out with an injury, which means sophomore backup Mitch Schurig had the start this week.
The Bods ran three plays for negative yards and then punted the ball. On the ensuing punt, UCM returned the ball deep into Ichabod territory. Shortly after, UCM would throw a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Mules the lead, but they missed the PAT.
Down by six, the offense had to get rolling. The Ichabods put together a couple first downs, and then Schurig found a wide-open senior wide receiver Will Hamilton for a huge 48-yard touchdown. Senior kicker Perry Schmiedeler would connect on the extra point and give the Ichabods a 7-6 lead.
The Mules got the ball back but promptly returned it to the Bods. Senior Heath Tucker snatched the ball out of the air for an interception and the offense picked up right where they left off. Schurig would find junior tight end Michael Licktieg for a touchdown and the Ichabods would take a 14-6 lead after a Schmiedeler extra point.
The next two offensive drives for both teams would stall out and be forced to punt.
The first drive for the Mules would regain the lead after their first drive in the second quarter. After two missed extra-points earlier in the day, the Mule kicker, Alex Langer, finally got one through the uprights and gave UCM a 15-14 lead.
On the next Washburn drive, red-shirt freshman Ian Trapp would come in at the quarterback position. After a couple of plays, Schurig would take the reins back over and hit senior wide receiver James Brania-Hopp for 33-yard touchdown. Schmiedeler would tack on the extra point and the Ichabods would take a 21-15 lead.
The defense would continue their success and stop the Mules to give the ball back to the Washburn offense. It would not take long for the Ichabods to extend their lead. After one play on the drive, Schurig found a wide-open senior wide receiver Austen Hubert for a 74-yard touchdown pass, and Schmiedeler would nail the extra point again to give the Ichabods a 28-15 lead.
The bods went into the locker room for halftime holding a 28-21 lead.
The second half was completely different than the first half as no team would be able to find a way to score. Even though, both teams had their chances to add to their tallies.
On the second defensive stand of the third quarter, the Mules would seem to finally get a drive going in the half, but red-shirt freshman defensive back Channon Ross killed their drive after he intercepted the UCM quarterback to give the ball back to Washburn.
No team would be able to muster anything more than a punt the rest of the quarter. The Ichabod defense would keep the Mules from even having another first down. The defense only gave up two first downs the entire third quarter. The defense would even get another interception in the quarter, this time by red-shirt freshman defensive back Kevin Neal Jr.
The fourth quarter would begin with the Ichabods finding some success on the ground with both red-shirt freshman running backs Hunter Browning and Kamani Addison spearheading the attack.
The Mules would get the ball back and get the ball into the red-zone. The defense would hold steady though as they would force the Mules to settle for a field goal. Senior defensive back Corey Ballentine would have other plans though, as he would get to the Mule backfield untouched and block the field goal.
After a Washburn punt, the Mules would have one last chance to tie the game or take a lead.
The drive would start in favor of Washburn after Rashade Chester would sack the Mule quarterback. UCM would recover though as they would march the ball down near the red-zone. Just like they have all game long, the defense stopped the Mules from scoring and the Ichabods would upset the #16 ranked team in the nation and improve their record to 2-2.
It was suiting that Schurig would succeed on Family Day, since his dad is the head coach of the team.
“I got in a rhythm early, we had some quick throws to get me going and that first touchdown it helped me out with my confidence and it spilled over from there. You know, second half that’s on me, I can’t turn the ball over like that. We gotta be better offensively and score some points, but overall definitely excited, we got a win,” said Mitch Schurig.
The defense returned back to their normal form and shut down the Mules in the second half. Senior linebacker Austin Tillman showed pride in his team’s performance.
“We were just flying around, we had a good game plan going in, and we were able to shut them down quite a bit and that’s what we planned to do. Glad we were able to get it done.” Austin Tillman said.
Schurig would finish the day throwing for four touchdowns, 361 yards, and only one interception. On the ground, the tandem of Browning and Addison would get a total of 91 yards. Receiving wise, Brania-Hopp would lead the way with 138 yards and 1 touchdown.
“We knew we were the better team going in. A win always feels great and I’m happy to be on this end.” says Tillman.
The Ichabods will play their next game at Missouri Western State University this Saturday at 7 p.m. Their next home game will be on Oct. 6, against the Northeastern State Riverhawks.