By RICK PETERSON
Washburn University's football team has a good thing going and doesn't want that to end any time soon.
Coming off a 29-17 comeback win at Central Oklahoma, the 6-2 Ichabods will be looking for their fourth straight win in Saturday's Homecoming game when Northeastern State visits Yager Stadium for a 1 p.m. MIAA matchup.
Last week's win clinched Washburn's second straight winning season and the 14th in coach Craig Schurig's 20 seasons at WU.
Washburn has put itself in a position to challenge for an NCAA Division II playoff berth or a spot in the bowl game, but Schurig said the key now is to continue moving forward.
"We're focused on improving as a team and there's still fundamentals we need to improve on and you just want to build momentum and keep it going,'' Schurig said. "You can't be hot and cold. You want to stay hot.''
Washburn's defense has come up huge during the Ichabods' winning streak, with WU not allowing more than 20 points in the three wins.
"They've come up with huge plays, big-time plays when your back's against the wall,'' Schurig said. "They have a toughness about them physically that you want your defense to have and they're showing it.''
Northeastern State is 2-6 after dropping a 59-7 decision to Northwest Missouri last Saturday, the RiverHawks' fourth straight loss.
Washburn leads the all-time series with Northeastern 9-1, including eight straight wins.
The Ichabods scored in all three phases of the game against Central Oklahoma, taking the lead for good on a 90-yard kickoff return from James Letcher Jr. and clinching the win with a 75-yard fumble return from Braden Rose.
Letcher has scored a touchdown (4 receiving, 1 return) in each of the last five games.
Zach Willis is 12th on Washburn's all-time career rushing chart with 1,563 yards and is tied for 14th place all-time with 15 career rushing TDs.
Quarterback Mitch Schurig ranks fourth time for Washburn with 6,051 passing yards and his 465 career completions rank No. 2 all-time. He is Washburn's all-time leader with a 63.9-percent completion rate.
Schurig is likely to play Saturday after missing last week's game at Central Oklahoma (concussion protocol).
Redshirt freshman Kellen Simoncic has been solid in relief of Schurig, including a 17 of 31 passing performance last week for 204 yards and a TD.
Linebacker Grant Bruner, rebounding from an injury, led Washburn with six tackles at Central Oklahoma while Malick Fall ranks among the national leaders in sacks per game (1.13).
Isaiah Davis has rushed for 305 yards and Keon Moore 270 yards for Northeastern State while Grant Elerick is 98 of 169 passing, averaging 137.1 yards per game with eight touchdown passes.
Mark Wheeland has caught 41 passes for 573 yards and seven TDs.
Washburn will travel to Pittsburg State next Saturday before returning home on Nov. 13 to wrap up the regular season against Missouri Southern.