KEARNEY, Neb. -- The Washburn Ichabods opened the 2013 season with a 58-13 win over Nebraska-Kearney at Cope Stadium in Kearney. Washburn will return home on Sept. 14 to face Fort Hays State in Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl with a 6 p.m. kick.
Washburn wasted little time getting on the board to start the season as Sean McPherson scored on a 7-yard run capping its season-opening drive of eight plays and 64 yards putting Washburn up 7-0. After the teams traded turnovers, Washburn's Justin Linn hit the first of his three field goals on the night with a 23-yard score set up by a fumble recovery by D.J. Wakes putting washburn up 10-0 with 5:28 to play in the first quarter.
The Lopers would take their next possession and drive to the Ichabod 16 yard line but was stopped at the WU 16 on a fourth and one with Wakes ended the drive.
After a Washburn punt, UNK would take advantage of a fourth down conversion on a fake punt and go on to score but the extra point hit the right goal post. Washburn used a quick strike when Mitch Buhler hit Jordan Hart for a 68-yard touchdown score stretching the Ichabod lead to 17-6.
Neither team would score until the combination of Buhler to Hart struck again with a 55-yard completion on a 1-play drive putting the Ichabods up 24-6 going into the half.
In the third quarter, the Lopers took the opening kickoff and was held to a three and out and on the UNK puntIsaac Wright broke through the line and blocked the punt and then scooped it up and scored from 15-yards out adding to the Ichabod 31-6 lead.
The Lopers fumbled on their next drive and the Ichabods took advantage as Buhler used a shuffle pass toKameron Stewart and he rumbled in from 28-yards out moving the lead to 38-6.
After another UNK turnover, who had seven in the game, Linn connected on a 51-yard field goal, which was one shy of the school record pushing Washburn's lead up to 35 at 41-6 with 8:47 left to play in the third quarter.
Wakes recorded an interception to go with his fumble recovery setting up a 40-yard field goal by Linn with 3:58 to play in the third quarter as the Ichabods would lead 44-6 at the end of the third quarter. After another UNK fumble, Washburn's Noel Phillips wrapped up a three-play drive with a 5-yard score with 10:50 to play in the game.
UNK punted on its ensuing possession, but would pick off a Washburn pass for their first score since the first score since the second quarter cutting the lead to 51-13.
Washburn wrapped up the scoring in the game with a 10-play, 75-yard drive when Donnie Lockhart III scored on a 1-yard plunge with 4:09 left in the game.
Buhler finished the game 16 of 29 for 273 yards and three touchdowns as Hart finished with three catches for 150 yards and the two scores. DaJuan Beard had five catches for 41 yards and two punt returns for 42 yards. McPherson had 11 rushes for 69 yards and the one score.
Bryce Atagi led the Ichabod defense with nine tackles and Cameron Jackson had six. Willie Williams had four tackles and two interceptions.
Overall each team had 22 first downs and the Ichabods finished with 168 rushing. Washburn finished with 352 yards passing and 520 total offensive yards. The Ichabod defense limited the Lopers to 350 yards offense with 187 on the ground and 163 in the air.