Washburn football falls short of major upset

Trevor Burman

The Ichabods hosted their first home football game of the season against the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats.

The football team looked to improve to 2-0 on Sept. 7 as they faced the top college football team in the nation for their home opener. While the team fell just short of their goal, the Ichabods had no shortage of teamwork.

Starting out the game, the Ichabods started slow offensively after winning the coin toss and owning the first possession of the game. On the first drive, the offense had nothing going in terms of quality yards gained to even attempt to put points on the board. The offense went three and out with a punt after one yard gained on the entire drive.

It looked grim for the Ichabods from there, but relief was at hand from the defense when the Bearcats took their first shot on the field. At first, the Bearcats steamrolled down the field with no resistance from the Ichabods as they brought it down to the goal line on the second drive of the game.

The Ichabods managed to hold the Bearcats to a fourth down stand on the goal line, causing the crowd to erupt.

That victory was shortlived, however, as on the first play of the third offensive drive of the game, the Ichabods were tackled in the backfield for a safety. After turning the ball over and putting points on the board for Northwest Missouri State, the offense was a step behind the defense for the entire first half.

Punting to a dynamically athletic offense after the safety, Northwest Missouri State took to the field on their own 37 yard line. The defense held strong, and caused the Bearcats to punt after three plays and four yards gained after the safety.

The game continued to be a struggle for the offensive side totaling only 28 yards of forward progression the entire first half.

The Ichabods missed a 47 yard field goal, and the Bearcats made a 29 yard field goal and end the half with a 5-0 score in favor of the Bearcats.

This was a small victory for the Ichabods. Holding the top team in the nation is no easy task, and the defense stood like a brick wall heading into halftime.

After the break, the Bearcats received possession and tore through the defense for the first time of the night. The Bearcats went for nine plays for 78 yards and a touchdown, putting 12 points on the board.

After going down 12, the Ichabods answered the Bearcats by sparking a huge offensive drive that ended in five plays, 71 yards and a touchdown, putting Washburn’s first points on the board with a 12-7 score.

After finally putting points on the board, the Ichabods got the ball back with a huge fumble on the kickoff return and earn a chance to take the lead with great field position.

However, the offense squandered their opportunity and fell short on a fourth down stand by the Bearcats on their own 12 yard line.

After the missed opportunity, the Ichabods and Bearcats battled it out, with the Bearcats putting a substantial drive at the end of the third quarter.

The Bearcats continued their offensive attack and broke past the Ichabod’s defense for another score in the end zone. This put them up 20-7, with a two point conversion with 12:06 left in the fourth quarter.

The back and forth battle kept up until Washburn put a touchdown scoring drive on the board, making the score 20-14.

The whole game ultimately came down to the Bearcat’s next offensive drive, as the Ichabod’s defense held firm.

On fourth and two on the Ichabod’s 40, the Bearcats punted, as an upset in Washburn’s favor seemed like a possible feat.

However, the game came down to a questionable penalty call, which gave the Bearcats the automatic first down and ultimately ended the Ichabods’ bid for a major upset.

The game ended with a score of 20-14. While the Ichabods fell short in the end, they fought the Bearcats tooth and nail and gave the number one team in the nation a run for their money. 

For their next game, the Ichabods will travel to Saint Charles, Missouri to face Lindenwood University at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on the MIAA Network or listened to on 106.9 FM KTPK.