KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Washburn Ichabods scored touchdowns on its first seven drives to post a 57-41 victory over Nebraska-Kearney Saturday at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field.
This was the regular season finale for both teams. Washburn (6-5) avenges a 17-16 loss to UNK in last year's season ender and ends 2019 having won five of six. On a day where it honored 25 seniors, the Lopers (6-5) record its first winning season since joining the MIAA in 2012.
The 'Bods have been a thorn in the Lopers side since 1985 and have now won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two. UNK was hoping to reach seven wins for the first time since 2011 and maybe earn a postseason bowl bid but fell behind 21-0 by the end of the first quarter.
"It was a slow start and give Washburn University credit. It was a disappointing first half. Our kids have answered the ball all year long in terms of getting ready for games but we came out flat today and Washburn took advantage. Credit to those guys," UNK head coach Josh Lynn said. "We missed tackles ... Washburn handled the line of scrimmage. We've done a pretty good job on the line of scrimmage all year long but that wasn't the case today."
The game featured 98 points, 1,163 yards of offense, a touchdown catch by WU senior left tackle Kyle Hinton, a blocked PAT returned for two points and 14 offensive TD's. This is tied for the fifth highest scoring game in UNK history (two teams) as there were also 98 points tallied in the 2002 playoff loss to Texas A&M Kingsville (58-40). 36727
"You have to look where we were at as program going into this game. We were in a spot where we could possibly do something after the regular season. However we haven't had that kind of success before and you have to work hard, you have to prepare hard. You have to play four quarter of football because every team in the MIAA is good and that was evident in the first half," Lynn said.
Washburn racked up 657 yards over 70 plays (9.4 avg.) and had a five minute time of possession advantage over a Loper team that usually dominates the clocks. The 'Bods gashed UNK on the ground to tune of 343 yards and five scores (7.5 yards per carry). Using the "Wildcat" with 6-5 junior wide out Jace Williams on multiple plays, WU used 10 different ball carries against a Loper "D" that was among the MIAA's best against the run.
Junior QB Mitch Schurig was extremely efficient in the passing game as well, going 20 of 24 for 314 yards and three scores. He completed passes to six different receivers and wasn't sacked while running for a key first down.
UNK did score 20 fourth quarter points and tallied 506 yards of offense, 272 of that coming on the ground. Redshirt freshman QB TJ Davis (Colorado Springs) led the way with 21 carries for 107 yards and a TD while going 10 of 15 for 187 yards, two TD's and one interception in the air. This marks his fifth 100-yard rushing day of the season and his final rushing numbers (886 yards & 12 TD's) are among the best for a Loper QB in a single season.
Next, Pennsylvania back Darrius Webb had 85 yards on 12 carries with Arizona senior "SAM" Luke Quinn having a team-best four catches for 48 yards. Finally Colorado senior receiver Cody Summers and Florida senior receiver Sedarius Young both had scoring grabs with senior back David Goodwin (Lauderhill, Fla.) leaving the game early due to injury. He ends 2019 with a team-best 963 rushing yards.
Washburn saw junior back Zach Wilis have 154 yards and one TD on just nine carries with Williams running five times for 48 yards and three scores (3, 6 and 31 yards). He also caught four balls for 27 yards and a TD. Finally sophomore receiver Collin Wilson had 115 yards and a score on four catches.
Defensively for UNK Florida senior safety LaRoy James had a team-best 13 tackles, Thedford sophomore ILB Jacey Nutter had 10 and Missouri senior ILB Sal Silvio had eight, pushing his final career tally to 316. That ties him with Kellen Werner ('13) for the second most in school history. Finally Florida senior nose guard Jordan Ingraham had four tackles, a forced fumble and recovered fumble.
"I'm proud of where we are with Loper football. I'm going to say this too … we have a good athletic program here in Kearney, Nebraska. We have a volleyball team that tonight has a chance to go undefeated. We have Top Five wrestling program. We got a football team that is making strides to be better. We're knocking down walls. I'm proud to be part of that," Lynn said.