By RICK PETERSON
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Washburn Ichabods played their first overtime game of the 2022 season and needed only one offensive play to come away with a 38-31 victory over Missouri Western State.
The Griffons (2-2 overall, 2-2 MIAA) scored first, driving nine plays on the opening drive to set up a field goal.
It would be the first and only lead for Missouri Western in the game.
Washburn (3-1, 3-1 MIAA) responded with a 40-yard pass from Kellen Simoncic to James Letcher Jr. to set up a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Simoncic into the end zone.
The Ichabod defense forced two more punts in the first quarter.
On the next offensive possession, Simoncic found Letcher again, this time in the end zone from 25 yards out to give Washburn a 14-3 lead.
The first Washburn drive of the second quarter stalled in the red zone and the ensuing field goal attempt was blocked by the Griffons.
Missouri Western drove 87 yards on 10 plays to score. Ending with back-to-back passes from Reagan Jones to Caleb Martin for 12 and 36 yards respectfully to make it 14-10.
Both teams traded punts until the next Ichabod drive with under two minutes in the half. A 29-yard catch and run by Letcher set up another field goal attempt by Kameron Lake which was successful from 38 yards. A long field goal attempt by the Griffons with one second in the half was no good and Washburn led 17-10 at the break.
Missouri Western began the third quarter with a 13-play drive to tie the game at 17. The Ichabods needed just four plays to answer, with a 35-yard pass to Washburn Rural grad Collin Wilson setting up a 7-yard rush by Taylon Peters, putting Washburn up 24-17.
One punt for each team wrapped up the third quarter. Two plays into the fourth quarter the Griffons tied the game with 14:33 to play after two runs by Jonas Bennett.
Washburn drove 66 yards over 13 plays and came up empty after a missed field goal from 25 yards away.
The defense forced a quick Missouri Western three and out.
Once again, the Ichabods drove into Griffon territory but this the drive ended after a fumble. The very next play former Shawnee Heights standout Christian Clark intercepted a pass with 5:29 remaining to give the ball back to Washburn.
A 43-yard run from Washburn Rural product Hunter Browning set up another connection between Simoncic and Letcher , this time from 22 yards away to put the Ichabods up 31-24 with 4:41 remaining.
Missouri Western drove 60 yards in 10 plays and found the end zone with just 38 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Peters ran left the first play of overtime and went all 25yards into the end zone for what would be the game-winning touchdown. The Griffons ran seven plays but never found the end zone in overtime.
Washburn's last overtime game came on Oct. 9, 2021, against Fort Hays State where they won 23-20. The Ichabods had never played an overtime contest against Missouri Western. The last time the two played in St. Joseph was in 2018.
Letcher finished the game with 180 yards receiving on 12 catches and two touchdowns. He fell one short of the Washburn single-game reception record but sits all alone at third on the charts.
Peters had two touchdowns on the ground and Browning rushed for 82 on seven carries.
Grannt Bruner posted 14 tackles to lead the Ichabods, while Channon Ross added 10. Clark's interception was his first of the season and second of his career.
Washburn had 521 total yards of offense in the game, compared to 452 for the Griffons. Simoncic had all 311 yards in the air, completing 25 of 43 passes, while the Ichabods rushed for 210 yards at a clip of 6.4 per carry.
Washburn returns home next Saturday to face Emporia State University in the Hall of Fame game at 4 p.m.