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Turner, WU looking to take next step after 64-point opening win




K.J. Turner grew up in Texas and even started his college football career there.

But the Mesquite, Texas native has found a second home in Kansas after being lured to the state to finish his career at Washburn.

"I played at Tyler Junior College and I transferred here in February of 2019 and it was a great decision,'' said Turner, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound defensive back. "I came here and met a lot of fun guys and a lot of them are my close friends now. That's really what's made the experience even better.''

TurnerWashburn senior K.J. Turner and the Ichabods will be looking to improve to 2-0 when WU hosts Central Missouri Thursday night. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

Turner was an impact player in his first season at Washburn, playing in all 11 games with eight starts for the 6-5 Ichabods while ranking third on the team with 59 tackles (35 solos) and picking off one pass while earning third-team All-MIAA honors.

Now the super senior wants to parlay that success into an even better final season for WU.

Turner and the Ichabods got the 2021 season off to the best of starts in last Thursday's 76-12 MIAA road win at Lincoln and will try to follow that up with a strong performance against Central Missouri (0-1, 0-1) in Thursday's 6 p.m. home opener at Yager Stadium.

"We hadn't played in a while, so us being able to come out and dominate like that, that means a lot to us, especially the way we did it,'' Turner said about the Lincoln romp.

It's been two years, with the 2020 campaign wiped out by COVID-19, but Turner and his teammates figure to have plenty of motivation Thursday night against Central Missouri after dropping a 55-27 decision to the Mules in '19. 

"A lot of us were there,'' Turner said. "It was early in the season and there were some miscues here and there, but this year we're looking to put it all together and come back stronger. It's a new year and we're looking to start strong and just go from there. Lincoln was the first step and we just need to take it one week at a time.

"I really want to make the most of it. I had a good senior year in high school (North Mesquite) and I'm just trying to follow in those same tracks. We have the team to do it.''

 Washburn football tickets are now sold online only, with tickets no longer available at a ticket window. Online tickets can be purchased up until the game is a sellout or the game ends.

• Washburn returns to Yager Stadium for the first time in 670 days to meet Central Missouri, which is coming off a 35-16 home loss to Pittsburg State.

• The last time the Ichabods played a game in Topeka was Nov. 9, 2019 against Pittsburg State in a 49-38 win over the Gorillas.

• Ichabod quarterback Mitch Schurig has passed for 4,508 yards in his career, ranking eighth on the Ichabod career chart. Schurig has also thrown for 40 touchdowns (sixth all-time) and he is WU's all-time leader in passing percentage at 62.9 percent.

• Central Missouri was tied with Fort Hays State and received one first-place vote in the 2021 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll. The Mules were also second in the MIAA Preseason Media Poll.

• Washburn is 19-28-2 all-time against the Mules.