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Record-setter Simoncic's focus on helping WU get back in win column

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Washburn University sophomore quarterback Kellen Simoncic made it into the Ichabod record book in last Saturday' 42-35 MIAA loss to Emporia State, setting a single-game record with 35 pass completions while going 35 of 48 on the day for 334 yards and four touchdown passes.

WUSimoncic2Washburn sophomore quarterback Kellen Simoncic set a single-game school record with 35 pass completions in the Ichabods' 42-35 MIAA loss to Emporia State last Saturday. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

But while the record is something the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder may appreciate at some point, right now his only focus is on getting the Ichabods back in the victory column, beginning with Saturday night's 7 o'clock road contest at Fort Hays State.

"I'm just worried about wins and losses and that's what's most important,'' Simoncic said. "You worry about wins and losses and the team. The other stuff will come along with that. I just want to win games.''

Washburn is a respectable 3-2 entering Saturday's game, with 7 and 8-point losses, and Simoncic said the Ichabod offense is getting closer to being the unit it needs to be.

"Starting fast and getting that first first down is our biggest thing right now.,'' he said. "Usually when we get that first first down and get things going, then it usually leads to pretty good things and I think we've shown that in previous games.''

In his first season as Washburn's full-time starter, Simoncic said he's becoming more and more comfortable in that role and being a leader for the Ichabods.

Through five games the Smithville, Mo. native has completed 112 of 186 pass attempts for 1,438 yards and 15 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions.

Simoncic ranks third in the nation in passing touchdowns and is 12th in the nation in total offense with 296.8 yards per game.

"I definitely think I'm feeling a lot more comfortable and I think it shows with my play, just taking what they give me and feeling confident,'' Simoncic said.

"We just need to take it one week at a time and enjoy the process -- take advantage of practice and film sessions and things like that -- and concentrate on what we can control.''

Washburn senior linebacker Grant Bruner leads the nation in tackles at 14.4 per game, including 8.6 solo stops per game.

All-American receiver James Letcher Jr. is eighth in the nation in receiving touchdowns with six TDs and 13th in receiving yards per game (111.8) and ninth in receptions per game (7.4).

On Saturday the Ichabods will be facing a Fort Hays State team, coached by former Washburn assistant Chris Brown, that is 1-4 after a 38-20 MIAA loss to Nebraska-Kearney last week.

"They'll play fired up,'' Washburn coach Craig Schurig said of the Tigers, "and they played well against Kearney. The score wasn't really indicative of that game. It was very tight into the fourth quarter.

"It seems like they're getting some of their (injured) guys back and they're talented, so it would be great on the road to get off to a good start and get our mometum going and feel good about ourselves because you're going to play a tough, physical team in Hays.''

The Fort Hays State game is the first of two straight road games for the Ichabods, who will also travel to Northwest Missouri on Oct. 15 before returning home to face Central Oklahoma on Oct. 22.