TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Washburn took a 13-7 lead into halftime of Thursday’s season opener at Northeastern State, but the Ichabods could have easily been well on their way to a blowout victory at that point after dominating the first half statistically.
WU quickly made up for the missed opportunities of the first half, however, outscoring NSU 18-0 in the third quarter en route to a 31-7 victory at Doc Wadley Stadium.
“We were kind of angry (at halftime), because it was just 13-7 and it should’ve been a heckuva lot more points on that board for us,” WU quarterback Logan Twehous said. “And our defense had been doing a great job for us, so we wanted to help our defense out a little bit. They were playing a heckuva a game against a good quarterback and a good offense.”
The defense ended up kick-starting the offense to start the third quarter, forcing a three and out after NSU mishandled the opening kickoff of the second half to pin the RiverHawks deep in their own territory.
WU then took advantage of the short field and scored on a 1-yard plunge from Twehous to get the momentum back on the Bods’ side.
“We were fortunate he muffed (the kickoff) and we pinned them, and then we got some points back,” WU coach Craig Schurig said. “It just seemed like we played downhill that third quarter — we had great field position all the time and put it in the end zone and got those points back we felt like we lost in the first half.”
Washburn went on to add an 11-yard touchdown pass from Twehous to Carey Woods, and after a NSU fumble, Perry Schmiedeler booted a 28-yard field goal to extend WU’s cushion to 24 points late in the third.
Twehous, who split time at QB with Blake Peterson, had a hand in all four of WU’s touchdowns. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 122 yards with two touchdowns and also rushed for a pair of scores.
“I felt really good,” Twehous said. “I tried to watch as much film as I possibly could to make sure that I was well prepared. It always helps when you have a lot of returners on the offensive line and good skill receivers coming back, and especially with the defense we have.”
WU outgained NSU 413 to 265 and the Ichabods forced the RiverHawks into four turnovers, including two interceptions from senior safety D.J. Olmstead, an Idaho transfer.
NSU quarterback Dom McKinzy went 16 of 30 through the air and was kept under pressure by WU’s D-line. The lone touchdown was a 17-yard pass late in the second quarter.
“It starts up front with the D-line,” Olmstead said of WU keeping McKinzy in check. “All week, we’ve been hard on the D-line, getting to the pass rush, staying outside and keeping the quarterback in the pocket. And as long as we’re playing great coverage and getting pressure up front, it’s hard for him to get out of the pocket.”
Washburn had no trouble shaking off an early turnover after a fumble on the second play from scrimmage, with the Ichabods forcing a three-and-out and then putting together a seven-play, 60-yard drive that was finished off by a 10-yard TD from Twehous on a quarterback keeper.
After WU safety Peter Pfannenstiel recovered a NSU fumble, Twehous led a 58-yard scoring drive, finding a wide-open Austen Hubert for a 17-yard touchdown pass to give Washburn a 13-0 lead (a fake on the PAT failed) with 49 seconds remaining in the first.
Twehous, who Schurig named as the starter earlier this week, played the first three series in the first quarter, going 7 of 8 through the air for 58 yards. Peterson took the snaps in the second quarter and the Bods continued to churn out yardage, but couldn’t capitalize on any of the drives.
Peterson went 6 of 13 through the air for 61 yards and rushed for 23 yards on five carries.
Schurig said he was pleased with how the Ichabods moved the ball with both QBs.
“(Twehous) was real comfortable and we felt like we had a good mix of run and pass,” Schurig said. “We ran the ball a little more with Blake and he made some nice play; the passing game didn’t connect quite as well, it was just a little off. But we felt like we had a good balance. Overall, I thought we did pretty well.”
WU linebacker Derrick McGreevy had a game-high nine tackles.
The Ichabods will face defending champion Northwest Missouri at 6 p.m. next Thursday in its home opener.
Washburn (1-0, 1-0) 13 0 18 0 – 31
Northeastern State (0-1, 0-1) 0 7 0 0 – 7
WU – Twehous 10 run (Schmiedeler kick), 5:45. Drive: 13 plays, 60 yards, 7:08 time of possession.
WU – Hubert 17 pass from Twehous (run failed), 0:49. Drive: 7-58, 2:52.
NSU – Abdul 17 pass from McKinzy (Pearce kick), 1:31. Drive 5-80, 2:07.
WU – Twehous 1 run (Schmiedeler kick), 12:11. Drive: 4-33, 0:53.
WU – Woods 11 pass from Twehous (Hamilton pass from Twehous), 5:42. Drive: 7-56, 3:00.
WU – Schmiedeler 28 field goal, 2:09. Drive: 5-28, 2:02
First downs 23 15
Rushes-yards 44-230 21-31
Passing yards 18-31 16-30-2
Comp-Att-Int 18-31-0 16-30-2
Punts-Avg. 5-42.4 6-34.0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 6-2
Penalties-yards 6-59 5-35
Time of possession 34:21 25:39
RUSHING — WU: Whitten 9-60, Willis 7-47, Stewart 11-37, Peroo 8-32, Peterson 5-23, Twehous 4-21, Horner 1-7, Hamilton 1-3. NSU: Abdul 11-44, Bowlin 3-8, Shavers 1-0, Burroughs 2-0, Team 1-(minus) 2, McKinzy 13-(minus) 33, Holman 0-4.
PASSING — WU: Twehous 12-18 122 yards, Peterson 6-13 61 yards. NSU: McKinzy 16-30-2 244 yards.
RECEIVING — WU: Woods 5-41, Williams 3-51, Stewart 3-41, Hubert 2-20, Horner 1-12, Whitten 1-9, Brania-Hopp 1-6, Peroo 1-2, Meier 1-1. NSU: Upshaw 5-36, McKnight 3-104, Abdul 3-46, Burroughs 1-25, Orr 1-19, King 1-6, Saint Jean 1-6, Shavers 1-2.
PUNTING — WU: Schmiedeler 5-42.4. NSU: Pearce 6-34.0.
LEADING TACKLERS — WU: McGreevy 2 solo-7 solo, Tucker 6-8, Gonzalez 3-2. NSU: Howard 4-7, Wise 5-2, Silversmith 3-4.
INTERCEPTIONS — WU: Olmstead.
SACKS — WU:Jones 1.5, Pfannenstiel 1.0, Tillman 0.5, Chester 0.5, Urban 0.5. NSU: Dotson 1.0.