Washburn football falls to UCM as Ichabods lose two straight

Washburn quarterback Blake Peterson fumbles the ball against Central Missouri.

Trevor Beurman

Following the Ichabods second loss of the season, Washburn football looked to bounce back against a talented University of Central Missouri team. This tall task meant major implications for the conference as both teams were 5-2 and looking for more leverage in the MIAA race to the postseason.

Even though these teams have identical records, the Ichabods are winless against the Mules under UCM head coach Jim Svoboda. Looking to improve on this disheartening trend, the Ichabods have MIAA leading players to power them through tough matchups like this.

Washburn football standout D.J. Olmstead is one of them and he looks to continue his conference leading six interceptions which puts him at third in the nation overall. Another talented Ichabod on the roster is Mickeel Stewart who leads the Ichabods with six rushing touchdowns.

The Ichabods would start their first offensive drive heavily run-oriented, using Mickeel Stewart and multiple plays as well as quarterback rushes with Blake Peterson. The first drive would see solid movement down field but ultimately end up stopped at the UCM 39 yard line with 36 yards of total offense.

The Mules would start their first offensive drive on the their own 15 yard line, where they would march down the field and put the first points on the scoreboard with a trip to the end zone and lead the game 0-7 with 6:44 left in the first quarter.

After the Mules ran down the field for the first score of the game, the Ichabods would immediately answer back with some impressive sprints downfield by Zach Willis, running back. Willis would account for 74 yards of offense for the second drive of the Ichabods offense and Blake Peterson would pound the ball into the end zone for an even 7-7 score with 5:14 left in the first quarter.

“It’s tough to lose out there [because] you want to get a win,” Willis said. “We did some really good things today and we just need to build off that.”

The defense would still have trouble containing the Mules, as they would storm down the field once again for another score in the end zone. The Mules would hold the lead for the first quarter as they tacked on a 7-13 leading score with 71 yards of offense after a blocked point after by Corey Ballentine.

After the blocked extra point, the Ichabods would start a dismal three and out offensive drive giving the Mules great field position, partly due to unfavorable wind conditions on the punt to give the ball to the Mules at the Ichabod 49 yard line.

The Mules would be given an unexpected jolt by the Ichabod defensive line, however, as UCM quarterback Brook Bolles would be sacked at the opposing 23 yard line and the ball would leak out onto the field behind the line of scrimmage.

Ichabod lineman Terrell Cooper would pick up the fumble and take it 28 yards to the UCM 42 where the Ichabods would set up shop for their next offensive drive as the first quarter expired.

Washburn would parade down the field all the way to the one yard line where they would elect to go for six on fourth down. Washburn quarterback Blake Peterson would once again account for another touchdown on the day as he would put on another six to give the Ichabods the lead with a 14-13 score with 10:56 left in the second.

The Mules would then see their offense crumble by the Ichabod defensive line once again as Rashade Chester would breach the UCM offensive line twice for tackles for loss on a three and out drive.

Washburn football would get the ball back at the their own 36 yard line where Mickeel Stewart would get a breakaway run on third down and lose the ball to the Mules at the UCM 19 yard line.

Eventually the Mules would take the ball all the way down to the end zone for another score on the board, setting up for the lead and putting the score at 13-20 with 4:26 left in the second half.

For the Ichabods second to last drive of the second half, Washburn football would go three and out and surrender the ball to the Mules with 2:36 left.

The Mules would start their last drive of the second half on their own 22 yard line which would result in movement to the midfield line with what would be a three and out, until a roughing the kicker was called on the punt giving the Mules another shot towards the end zone.

The Mules would succeed in reaching the end zone and tack on another 7 points to the second quarter score making it 14-27 with 40 seconds left until halftime.

Washburn would have plenty of production on this last offensive drive and eventually get down to the end zone and put up a quick seven to end the first half of the game making the score 21-27 with only five seconds left on the clock.

For the start of the second half the Mules would start out at their own 25 yard line and eventually get to midfield where they would go three and out and return the ball to the Ichabods on the 15 yard line.

Willis would start on another breakaway run, his third of the day, and get the Ichabods all the way down to the UCM 41 yard line where Washburn would eventually punch it in the end zone on a reception from Blake Peterson to James Brania-Hopp for a Washburn lead set at 28-27 with 12:14 left in the third quarter.

“I think everything I have done this offseason, the dedication I have, all that work I did all summer is starting to show,” said James Brania-Hopp, wide receiver. “[It] just was not enough today.”

The Mules would start with great field position on their first drive of the third as Devante Turner would rush down the field for a 59 yard return. The defense would have no answers, and eventually the Mules would get into the end zone and once again take the lead for a 28-34 score with 11:31 left in the third.

The Ichabods would start their next drive on their own 31 yard line where Peterson would get in sync with Jake Horner for multiple receptions down the field. The Ichabods would eventually find their way to the end zone once again and continue the back and forth battle for a 35-34 score with 6:02 left in the third quarter.

The Ichabod defense, after giving up tons of offensive yardage would look to get on track and stop the UCM offense for hopefully a bigger gap in the lead.

The defense would succeed in this task, as they would force a fumble recovered by defensive superstar D.J. Olmstead to start the offense at their own 34 yard line.

The Washburn offense would unfortunately not capitalize on the recovered fumble as they would go three and out and return the ball to the Mules.

The Ichabod defense would hold once again and force the Mules to punt on a three and out drive.

This time the offense would answer with a big reception by James Brania-Hopp for 26 yards and another reception by Brania-Hopp to the end zone for six. The Ichabods would set the score to 42-34 with no time left in the third to carry momentum into the final quarter of the game.

To start the final quarter, the Mules would perform some offensive magic of their own, reaching the end zone once again to set the score at 42-41 with 13:23 left in the game.

In a crucial drive for the Ichabods, the offense would turn the ball over with a Blake Peterson interception and the Mules would earn great field position which they would use to get into the end zone once again and take the lead with 12:10 left in the game with a score of 42-49 with a added on two-point conversion.

The Ichabods would drive down the field once again and be stopped at midfield on a fourth down punt to return the ball to the Mules.

The Ichabod defense would look to hold the Mules for a chance to stay in the game, but would fail to do so as the Mules would tack on another touchdown to make it a 42-55 lead for the Mules as Will Jones blocked the point after.

The two touchdowns against the Ichabods in the fourth would seal the deal and University of Central Missouri would get their sixth win against Washburn with Jim Svoboda as head coach. This would also extend Washburn’s losing streak against UCM to six and set their record to 5-3 with the game’s final score of 42-62 as the Mules scored another seven points off a fumble and sack.

Up next for the Ichabods is a trip to Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Missouri where they will play their second to last regular season game and look to improve to 6-3 on the season.