Second Half Surge Leads Washburn Past Lincoln
JEFFERSON CITY - The Lincoln football team held Washburn in check for much of the first half, but a second-half surge led the Ichabods past the Blue Tigers, 51-18, on Saturday afternoon. Washburn, ranked No. 20 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Poll, scored touchdowns on five of its seven drives in the third and fourth quarters to put away the game.
Lincoln quarterback Jacob Morris led scoring drives of 79 and 72 yards in the third quarter, including opening the second half with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Quan Guion that made the score 16-11. That five-point deficit was as close as the Blue Tigers would get, however, as Washburn outscored Lincoln, 35-14, in the final two quarters.
A 55-yard interception return by WU's Willie Williams down to the Lincoln five set up the Ichabods first score. The Blue Tiger defense held tough, forcing the Ichabods to kick a 23-yard field goal three plays later. Lincoln responded by driving down to the Washburn two-yard line, thanks in part to a pair of 17-yard completions by Lewis Larson to Keenan Smith and Maurice Woodard, but a fourth-down rush by fullback Brent Ryan was stopped a yard shy of the goal line, keeping Lincoln scoreless.
It wouldn't take too long for that change. O'Hara Fluellen tackled WU's Kameron Stewart in the end zone for a safety, making the score a baseball-like 3-2 in favor of Washburn.
On the ensuing free kick, however, a mistake by the Lincoln returner led to Washburn recovering the ball, setting the Ichabods up at the LU 20. On third-and-10, WU quarterback Mitch Buhler found Matt Kobbeman open through the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass, opening the lead to 9-2. Lincoln swung the momentum back on the point after attempt, however, as Robert Felton blocked the try, allowing Herman Hopson to scoop up the ball and run it back for another two points.
In the second quarter, Washburn got the ball on a short field and quarterback Joel Piper completed passes of 25 and 14 yards to put Wu back in the end zone. The Ichabods went into halftime up 16-4, leading to frenetic scoring frenzy in the second half.
Lincoln's final touchdown of the afternoon came in the third quarter. After a pair of Washburn touchdown drives made the score 30-11, LU cut into the lead once again with a seven-play scoring drive. The Blue Tigers entered Washburn territory on a 32-yard completion by Morris to Devoyius Mark. Pass interference and roughing the passer calls against the Ichabods helped LU further advance the ball, and Morris eventually ran the ball in himself on a rollout to make it a 30-18 ballgame. It marked the third game of the season in which Morris has tallied both a passing and rushing touchdown.
The Lincoln defense held Washburn without a first down until midway in the second quarter, but the Ichabods' big second half allowed WU to outgain LU, 381-349. Washburn held slight leads in net rushing (113-107) and passing (268-242) yards and finished with 24 first downs compared to 22 for the Blue Tigers.
Morris finished 15-for-22 for 142 yards and the score while Larson completed 10 of 19 for 100 yards. Donald Malone led Lincoln with 37 yards on the ground while Deon Brock was next with 28. Morris finished with 24 net rushing yards and the touchdown. Woodard caught eight passes for 89 yards while Andre Borney finished with five receptions for 49 yards.
Fluellen had an interception and a pass break-up and finished with a team-high eight tackles. Markuice Savage had two pass break-ups and led the defense with six solo tackles while Darryl Blackmon had Lincoln's only sack of the afternoon. Kareem Joyner finished with seven total tackles while Justin Ferguson had six.
Piper threw for 144 yards and two scores while Buhler finished with 124 yards and three touchdowns for Washburn. Hayden Groves gained 45 yards on the ground to lead the Ichabod rushing attack while WU's leading receiver was Kobbeman with four receptions for 86 yards. Ryan Macken led the Ichabod defense with 14 tackles while Williams had 11.
Washburn improved to 5-1 overall and 5-1 in the MIAA with the win while Lincoln is now 0-6 on the season and 0-6 in conference play.
The Blue Tigers will be back home next Saturday, when Lincoln hosts Nebraska-Kearney for a 2:00 p.m. CDT contest. That game, the first-ever between the Blue Tigers and the Lopers, will be Lincoln's annual Think Pink game, with LU players and coaches wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness and research. The game will also be homecoming for Lincoln and will recognize those being inducted into the Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame in a halftime ceremony.