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Ichabod defense shines as Washburn rolls past Mules, 29-10

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

The last time Washburn University played Central Missouri back in 2019, the Mules hung 55 points on the Ichabods in a 55-27 victory.

Washburn's defense turned the tables in a big way Thursday night, limiting Central Missouri to 187 total yards and one touchdown as the Ichabods improved to 2-0 with a 29-10 victory in their home opener in front of 6,354 fans at Yager Stadium.

The Ichabod 'D' set the tone in the first half, allowing Washburn to take a 16-10 lead to the locker room at halftime despite committing four first-half turnovers. WU then pitched a shutout in the second half as the Ichabods pulled away for the decisive 19-point victory. 

"We definitely wanted to get back at these guys,'' junior safety Kevin Neal Jr. said. "We've been working super hard with the COVID year and everything, so we wanted to come out here and put our best foot forward and that's what we did tonight.''

ChristianClarkWashburn cornerback Christian Clark, a Shawnee Heights product, comes up with a diving interception in the first half of the Ichabods' 29-10 MIAA win over Central Missouri. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Central Missouri, which fell to 0-2, was held to just 70 rushing yards on 28 attempts and 117 passing yards on a 15 of 33 performance.

"The defense just played lights out,'' Washburn coach Craig Schurig said. "We were just all over the place on offense. It was like, 'Man, we should be up.' We had good field position and just not putting in points, but the second half I thought our defense even played better than the first half and it felt like we were playing downhill and it would eventually break.''

Former Shawnee Heights standout Christian Clark stopped one Mules scoring threat with a diving interception and senior Marquise Manning stopped another threat with an interception and 41-yard return.

"We knew we had them,'' Manning said. "We out-played them physically and we knew coming in we had a really good team.''

Neal paced the Ichabods with six solo tackles while former Topeka High standout Jacob Anderson, a senior, added five stops, including two tackles for loss.

Despite its first-half turnover woes (three interceptions and an inadvertant touch on a punt), Washburn rolled up 485 yards of total offense while scoring the final 23 points of the game.

MitchSchurigUCM

Senior quarterback Mitch Schurig threw for 249 yards and three TDs on a 19 of 34 night (two interceptions) while Washburn rushed for 236 yards on 43 attempts.

Redshirt sophomore James Letcher Jr. caught four passes for 78 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown, while junior Peter Afful scored the game's first TD on a 24-yard reception and redshirt freshman Matthew Simmons scored on a 10-yard catch.

Senior Zach Willis led a balanced Washburn rushing attack with 54 yards on 11 carries while sophomore Taylon Peters had 52 yards on 15 carries and Afful gained 50 yards on his lone attempt.

Sophomore kicker Kameron Lake had his best game as an Ichabod, kicking field goals of 48, 39 and 32 yards.

Central Missouri, picked second in the MIAA preseason polls, got a 27-yard field goal from Chris Diddle in the opening quarter and the Mules scored their lone touchdown with 5:29 remaining in the first half on a 14-yard pass from former Ichabod Logan Twehous to Koby Wilkerson.

Washburn will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 18, traveling to Nebraska-Kearney.

WASHBURN 29, CENTRAL MISSOURI 10

Central Missouri (0-2, 0-2) 3 7 0 0 -- 10

Washburn (2-0, 2-0) 6 10 7 6 -- 29

First quarter

Washburn -- Afful 24 pass from Schurig (pass failed), 11:53.

Central Missouri -- Diddle 27 FG, 6:35.

Second quarter

Central Missouri -- Wilkerson 14 pass from Twehous (Diddle kick), 5:29.

Washburn -- Letcher 62 pass from Schurig (Lake kick), 4:49. 

Washburn -- Lake 48 FG, 0:19.

Third quarter

Washburn -- Simmons 10 pass from Schurig (Lake kick), 6:37.

Fourth quarter

Washburn -- Lake 39 FG, 12:25.

Washburn -- Lake 32 FG, 6:22.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing -- Central Missouri: L. Twehous 6-33, Wilkerson 9-14, Turner 8-13, Perry 1-8, Bradley 2-5, Slager 1-0. Washburn: Willis 11-54, Peters 15-52, Afful 1-50, Mitchell 8-30, Bowden 3-30, Letcher 3-26, Schurig 1-(minus)-5, Team 1-(minus)-1.

Passing -- Central Missouri: L. Twehous 10-21-1, 67 yards; Bradley 5-12-1, 50. Washburn: Schurig 19-34-2, 249; Letcher 0-1-1, 0.

Receiving -- Central Missouri: Wilkerson 5-33, T. Twehous 3-21, Perry 2-30, Slager 2-26, Turner 2-1, Smith 1-6. Washburn: Letcher 4-78, Browning 4-53, Simmons 3-25, Brown 3-23, Searcy 2-41, Afful 2-29, Peters 1-0. 

Punting -- Central Missouri: Reynolds 9-37.4. Washburn: Spiker 3-39.0.

Tackles -- Central Missouri: Bell 5 solo-4 assists-9 total. Washburn: Neal 6-0-6, Anderson 4-1-5.

Attendance -- 6,354.