Washburn shows poise after rough first half at Lindenwood

Mickeel Stewart rushed for two touchdowns including the game-clincher in WU’s 26-16 win over Lindenwood this past Saturday. (File photo/The Capital-Journal)

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — A somewhat disheartening week for the Washburn football team was on the verge of getting worse through two-plus quarters this past Saturday at Lindenwood.

 

The Ichabods had a terrible week on the injury front, including a bad prognosis for quarterback Logan Twehous, who is expected to miss the rest of the year with an upper back injury he suffered in the second game against Northwest Missouri.

“We’re just hoping (Twehous) gets healthy so he can come back (next year),” Washburn coach Craig Schurig said. “We also had (running back) Curtis Whitten go down last week and didn’t get the outcome we wanted out of that either; he’s out for the season for sure with a torn ACL. Then (cornerback) Dwane Simmons hurt himself in practice. We kind of had a bad week with guys out for the season.

“That’s one thing about coaching: losses hurt, but when a player is lost for the season with an injury, that really hurts you.”

Washburn fell behind Lindenwood 13-0 by halftime and trailed 16-0 early in the third quarter, but the Ichabods ended a trying week with a morale boost, scoring 26 unanswered points to notch a 26-16 win at Hunter Stadium.

“We have a great team,” WU senior safety D.J. Olmstead said. “We came out kind of flat, but at halftime we were picking each other up and saying, ‘We got a lot of game left and we’re a great team. If we work together and fight, it’s going to happen.’ ”

WU went into halftime with just 88 yards of offense but regrouped to put up 248 yards in the second half and outscored the Lions 18-0 in the fourth quarter.

“First half, we were kind of boppin’ into ourselves and it was hard getting first downs and when you don’t get first downs you can’t run the ball,” Schurig said. “We want to be a team that keeps you off balance. Once we got first downs, we were able to tire them out a little bit and our O-line was able to take it to them.”

Washburn took a 19-16 fourth-quarter lead after a Blake Peterson touchdown pass to James Brania-Hopp, a 1-yard plunge from Mickeel Stewart, a pair of two-point conversations and a 21-yard field goal from Perry Schmiedeler.

Olmstead then preserved the lead by stripping Lions receiver Deantrell Prince just short of the goal line and covered up the ball in the end zone for a touchback.

“I saw the ball laying there and just tried my best to get on top of it,” Olmstead said. “Everybody covers you, everyone tries to strip it. My mind’s going crazy, breathing all hard. I’m just grateful I came up with it.”

Crucial plays on WU’s last possession included third-down conversions on short pass plays to Jace Williams and Carey Woods and a 48-yard touchdown run by Stewart that sealed it.

“It just shows the toughness we have as a team,” WU quarterback Blake Peterson said.

Peterson went 19 of 30 through the air for 138 yards with a touchdown and ran for 73 yards.

“We were able to get more plays, and you can get in a flow when you get plays,” Schurig said. “If you’re not getting first downs, nobody’s in a flow and you’re just kind of really choppy. (Peterson) kept very positive on the sidelines. He made some plays with his legs and hit some key passes in the fourth quarter.”

Washburn will play host to Nebraska-Kearney (1-2) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Yager Stadium.

NFL Pick'Em
 

More