Blake Peterson is ready to take the reins of the Washburn offense, but it’s not under the circumstances the Washburn sophomore quarterback wanted.
Peterson had been splitting snaps with Logan Twehous for the first two games, but Twehous was ruled out for the season with an upper-back injury before this past Saturday’s game at Lindenwood.
“Both of us wanted to be the starting quarterback and one of us was going to win the job, eventually, but we have a great relationship,” Peterson said. “He works as hard as anybody and does everything the right way.
“For it to happen like that, it’s definitely horrible and not how I wanted to win the job by any means or how anybody wanted this to turn out. I’ll try to be there for him as much as I can and he’ll be at the game Saturday and I’ll go to him after every series on the sideline. He’s a very smart kid and he’ll help me out the best he can with what he’s seeing from the defense. He’s still going to be able to help the team, for sure.”
Peterson will draw his second straight start as Washburn (2-1) plays host to Nebraska-Kearney at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Yager Stadium.
The Washburn Rural product is 30 of 55 through the air for 247 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and has rushed for 120 yards.
He acknowledged that stepping into a starting role for the rest of the season could bring a slight adjustment mentally.
“Not really, but maybe to a little bit of an extent, knowing that we were competing for the job when both of us were playing,” Peterson said. “You don’t want to think like that, but you kind of feel like you have to make more plays and do a little more maybe. But now, knowing that I’m the starter, I have the whole game and don’t have to try and do too much and can just take what the defense gives me. If we have to punt the ball, we have to punt the ball. I trust the defense to get a stop and get it right back to us.
“I don’t want to say it does (change the mindset), but it probably does, just knowing I’m the starter and maybe a little bit more comfortable and knowing I don’t have to do too much.”
WU coach Craig Schurig said the Ichabods can use the 26 points it put up in the second half of the Lindenwood win as a blueprint for success on offense.
“The biggest thing we tried to stress to them is, ‘Hey, let’s try to start out earlier like that,’” Schurig said. “I felt like in the second half we played fast, we played confident with very few errors. Hopefully we start a lot faster now.”
The offensive numbers last week for Kearney against Northwest Missouri were eyesores, with the 1-2 Lopers putting up just 58 yards of total offense while quarterback Steve Worthing was 2 of 22 passing with an interception. However, UNK’s defense kept the Bearcats in check in a 13-0 loss.
“They have a solid defense and they’re solid up front,” WU offensive lineman Bob Marco said. “The scheme they’re running, the 3-4 defense, can cause some issues and some confusion with the blitzes they run and stuff like that. Extra film study is going to help us out a lot. I can see why they’ve been stopping some people.”
Schurig confirmed that cornerback Dwane Simmons is out for the season after tearing his ACL for the second time at Washburn.
“He’s overcome an ACL already and came back stronger as ever,” Simmons said. “It’s just tough when you’ve been through it once already, but we’re hoping it’s a benefit for him, because he knows he can do it.”
NEBRASKA-KEARNEY AT WASHBURN
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday, Yager Stadium
Records: UNK 1-2, 1-2 MIAA, WU 2-1, 2-1
Radio: KTPK-FM (106.9)
Next: Washburn at Pittsburg State, 2 p.m., Sept. 30