Washburn Football: Ichabods Open 123rd Season At Nebraska-Kearney

By: WU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: WU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

First and 10
• The Washburn Ichabods will kickoff their 123rd season at Nebraska-Kearney on Sept. 5 on the road with a 6 p.m. start from Cope Stadium.
• The Ichabods are playing their first game in Kearney since Oct. 8, 1988 when the Ichabods won 29-12.
• Washburn is 7-14 all-time against the Lopers and 3-7 against UNK in Kearney.
• The Ichabods have opened three of the last four seasons on the road and have gone 3-0 in each road contest.
• The last time the Ichabods took on the Lopers in Kearney in 1988, both teams were members of the Central States Intercollegiate Conference.
• Sept. 5 is the latest starting date to an Ichabod season since Washburn opened the 2003 season on Sept. 6 and blanked Langston (Okla.) 28-0.

Numbers to know
• 5 - The number of season openers in a row the Ichabods have won … the last time the Ichabods lost a season opener was on Aug. 27, 2007 against No. 5-ranked Chadron State in Topeka 34-24.
• 123 - The number of seasons of Ichabod football.
• 4 - The number of consecutive games the Ichabods have won over the Lopers.
• 105-29 - The combined score of the Ichabods against the Lopers during the four-game winning streak.

Ichabod head coach Craig Schurig . . .
• was named head coach of the Ichabod football program Dec. 28, 2001.
• is 79-48 (.602) in his 12th season as the Ichabod head coach.
• is 61-38 (.600) against the MIAA.
• has led the Ichabods to three NCAA Playoff appearances and two bowl appearance championships.
• led the Ichabods to the 2005 MIAA regular season outright championship.
• has recorded nine-straight winning seasons for the first time in the program’s history.
• led the Ichabods to the program’s first 10-win season and their first NCAA or NAIA playoff game victory in school history with a win over Abilene Christian during the 2011 season.
• is Washburn’s all-time winningest coach with 79 wins.
• is 1-0 against the Lopers.

Lopers’ head coach Darrell Morris . . .
• is 95-47 entering his 14th season as the Lopers head coach.
• is a 1983 Northwest Missouri graduate where he played quarterback.
• has the second-highest winning percentage in Loper history (.702).
• ranks third in school wins.
• has led UNK to four RMAC titles and three NCAA berths.
• has been a member of the Loper coaching staff since 1986.
• is 0-1 against Washburn

For starters
• 73-43-6 - Washburn’s record in season openers.
• 1-2 - Washburn’s record on Sept. 5.
• 0-2 - Washburn’s record in road games on Sept. 5.
• 6 - The number of true freshman who have jersey numbers this season entering the opening week in long snapper Nathan Stanley, offensive linemen Ryan Rockow and Tyler Thompson, tight end Raymond Solis and defensive tackles Kobi Gillikey and Stanley Gilbert.

On offense
• Senior tight end Tore’ Hurst has started the last 24 games and has made 26 starts playing in 35 games … he ranks sixth all-time at Washburn with 17 touchdown receptions while he is 14th in both receiving yards with 1,293 and receptions with 91 on the Ichabod career chart.
• Junior quarterback Mitch Buhler has made 10 starts at Washburn passing for 1,904 yards and 17 touchdowns.
• Sophomore running back Sean McPherson returns after missing the 2012 season with a knee injury … he rushed for 736 yards on 132 carries adding six touchdowns as a redshirt freshman and was named the Ichabod Freshman of the Year.
• Junior DaJuan Beard returns this season after recording 62 receptions and 1,029 receiving yards as a sophomore en route to second team all-MIAA honors and honorable mention all-American honors … his is 12th all-time at Washburn in receptions yards with 1,403 and 13th with 88 career receptions.
• Senior center Kyle Duncan has started the last 24 games for the Ichabods on the offensive line while plyaing in 31 overall.
• Senior Matt Kobbeman has made 14 starts and was the team’s leading receiving in 2012 with 39 catches and 509 yards …he has 95 career receptions which is 12th all-time at Washburn and his 1,248 career receiving yards is 15th all-time for the Ichabods.

On defense
• Senior inside linebacker Bryce Atagi has started 26 career games playing in 36 overall … he is ninth all-time at Washburn with 265 total tackles …his 143 assisted tackles is seventh all-time and his 26 career tackles for loss is 10th all-time at Washburn.
• Senior linebacker Willie Williams has started the last 23 games appearing in 36 overall and has recorded 167 tackles with 76 solo stops.
• Senior linebacker Willie Williams has started the last 23 games appearing in 36 overall and has recorded 167 tackles with 76 solo stops.
• Senior defensive end Adebayo Oladapo has started the last 11 games appearing in 28 overall recording 55 tackles with 10 for loss and five sacks while picking off three passes.
• Senior linebacker Ryan Macken has played in 24 games making four starts tallying 82 tackles with 45 solo stops and 7.5 tackles for loss.

On special teams
• Senior wide receiver/kickoff return specialist Mark Fanche’s 1,412 kickoff return yards is second all-time at Washburn and his 64 kickoff returns is third all-time … in 2012 he broke a 22-year old Washburn record with his 38 kickoff returns and 786 kickoff return yards.
• Junior Aaron Hummert has 97 punts for 4,009 yards averaging 41.3 yards per punt playing in 24 career games … his 41.33 career puntiaverage is the best in highest in school history …he was honorable mention all-MIAA as a sophomore.

Know the foe
• The Lopers were 3-8 last season and went 2-8 in conference play finishing in 13th overall in their first season in the MIAA.
• The Lopers return 24 lettermen and lost 28.
• Nebraska-Kearney returns 10 starters overall with five on offense and defense.
• Last season the Lopers used seven different quarterbacks because of injuries.
• The Lopers will look to Nebraska transfer Bonson Marsh who was the 2009 Nebraska High School Player of the Year.
• The Lopers will take on FCS opponent Central Arkansas in week six.
• Matt Berry was an honorable mention all-MIAA pick at quarterback but will move back to wide receiver this season.
• Senior left tackle Cole Manhart returns and was a second team all-MIAA pick last season.

Series history with Nebraska-Kearney
Series Record: UNK leads 14-7-0
Streak: WU has won the last four
First Meeting: UNK 19-14 (09/14/1963) in Kearney
Last Meeting: WU 24-14 (08/30/2012) in Topeka
Last WU win: 24-14 (08/30/2012) in Topeka
Last UNK win: 21-16 (11/09/1985) in Kearney
Largest WU win: 28-0 (10/10/1987) in Topeka
Largest UNK win: 55-6 (09/16/1967) in Kearney

Series Notes with Nebraska-Kearney
• Will be the first game for the Ichabods in Kearney since a 29-12 win over Oct. 8, 1988.
• Washburn is 3-7 all-time in games played in Kearney.

Last meeting between Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney (8/30/12)
TOPEKA, Kan. -- The No. 20-ranked Washburn Ichabods opened up the 2012 season with a 24-14 win over MIAA newcomer Nebraska-Kearney in Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl. Nebraska-Kearney (0-1, 0-1 MIAA) jumped on the board first after both teams were scoreless in the first quarter when Adam Lehner pulled down a pass from Aric Kaiser with 11:28 to play in the first half capping a 12-play, 64-yard drive.
Washburn (1-0, 1-0 MIAA) responded with a touchdown of their own as Mitch Buhler making his first start connected with Matt Kobbeman on a 14-yard pass with just over nine minutes to play. After the teams traded four drives with no success, Washburn’s T.J. Shine picked off Kaiser with 1:23 to play in the first half.
Washburn reached the Loper 3-yard line before a false start on a third and goal stalled the Ichabods drive and Jeremy Linn put the Ichabods up 10-7 just beofre the half with a 25-yard field goal.
The Ichabods kept the momentum going taking the opening second half kickoff and marching 75 yards and in 10 plays when Hayden Groves scored on a 1-yard plunge with 11:14 to play in the quarter for his first Washburn touchdown putting the Ichabods up 17-7.
Nebraska-Kearney came right back on its next drive as Kaiser hit Adam Lehner on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 5:12 to play in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Buhler hit Alec Steuber out of the backfield for a 6-yard score putting Washburn up 24-14 to wrap up the scoring in the game and the victory for the Ichabods. In the fourth quarter, the Ichabods held the Lopers to 38 yards on 13 plays while the Wahburn offense held possession for 8:43 of the quarter.
Groves led the Ichabods on the ground with 44 yards on 15 carries and the lone score while Kameron Stewart had seven carries for 33 yards. Buhler finished 13 for 24 passing for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Joel Piper was 3 of 8 for 33 yards.
Washburn had nine different receivers catch a pass and seven with two each. Groves led the receivers with 57 yards while Connor Crimmins had two for 38 yards.
Defensively the Ichabods were led by Jahmil Taylor who had 14 tackles with eight solo stops while Bryce Atagi had 11 with six solo stops and two for loss. Jayveri Kelly had nine tackles with three solo stops and three tackles for loss with a sack.
For the Lopers, Tommy Flanagan had 64 yards on 12 carries while Kaiser was 23 of 34 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Lenher had six catches for 75 yards. Ryan Lendrum had nine tacklels with six solo stops.
Each team finished with 21 first downs as the Lopers led in total offense 349 to 291. The Ichabods had 212 passing compared to 203 for the Lopers. On the ground the Lopers had 146 yard on 46 carries for a 3.2 yard per attempt average compared to the Ichabods who had 79 on 35 attempts averaging 2.3 yards per carry.

Washburn season preview
The Washburn Ichabods return nine players who started at least seven games last season and one more who started all 13 in 2011 en route to All-American honors as the Ichabods look to improve on their 28.8 ppg output, which was sixth in the MIAA while their total offensive average of 374.2 yards per game ranked eighth in the conference. The Ichabods do return four of their five starting offensive lineman from last season giving them a solid front four to build on entering the 2013 campaign.
Junior Mitch Buhler sits on the top line of the two deep entering fall camp after starting 10 games last season after completing 133 of 255 passes for 1,737 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 173.7 yards per game. Junior Joel Piper made one start passing for 782 yards on the season.
Running Backs
The Ichabods will have two of their top three running back returning from last season in sophomores Kameron Stewart who rushed for 334 yards and four touchdowns and Donnie Lockhart who rushed for 180 yards. After missing last season, Sean McPherson returns after an injury. He rushed for 736 yards and six touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2011. Redshirt freshman Terek Hawkins will also see time in the rotation.
At fullback, Washburn will have three returners who all saw action last season clearing the way for the Ichabods. Junior Ben Muiller is making the move from tight end to fullback and is on top of the personnel chart entering the fall. Sophomore Alec Steuber started eight games for the Ichabods while fellow sophomore Sam Eickhoff appeared in five games.
Wide Receivers
The Ichabods return their top three wide outs from last season and will add to the mix an All-American selection from 2011. Senior Matt Kobbeman led the team with 39 receptions for 509 yards with five touchdown catches and sophomore Jordan Hart had 18 catches for 307 yards and four scores. Junior DaJuan Beard returns as well after sitting out the 2012 season and was an All-American pick after recording 62 catches for 1,029 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore. The Ichabods also return senior Mark Fancher led the team with a 17.1 yard per catch average and junior Brad Gourley had four starts collecting 17 catches for 189 yards. Juniors Tyrell Brown and Matt Buhler also return to the mix as well.
Offensive Line
The Ichabods return three of their five starters on the offensive line headlined by senior all-MIAA pick Kyle Duncan at center. At left guard sophomore Jordon McCallister is slated to start and junior Dylan Ready moves to left tackle from right tackle. Sophomore John Clay played all 11 games and has been marked as the starter at right guard. Montae Jones is slated to start at right tackle after missing his first two seasons of play at Washburn with injuries. Cameron Brown, who made 10 starts at right guard last season is making the shift to center. Also in the mix will be transfers D.J. Lynn and Jordan Bath along with junior Mike Farmer and redshirt freshmen Rayshawn Cato and Mike Miller.
Tight Ends
Senior Toré Hurst returns to a starting tight end spot where he’s started the last 24 games. In 2012 he was second on the squad with 38 catches for 466 yards and three touchdowns. Also competing for time will be sophomore Adam Luthi and incoming freshman Raymond Solis.
The Washburn Ichabods defensive side of the ball returns seven starters who saw action in 2012 plus another who missed the season with an injury as the Ichabods prep for the upcoming campaign. Last season the Ichabods were third in the MIAA in pass defense and sixth overall. Washburn allowed 29.8 points per game and will look to improve on that total with the experience they have returning along with a talented group of newcomers who will see time this season. Overall the Ichabods return five of their top six tacklers.
The Ichabod linebackers boast three of the top four tackle leaders from last season in seniors Bryce Atagi, Willie Williams and Ryan Macken. Atagi led the Ichabods and was third in the MIAA with 114 tackles including a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss. Williams had 77 tackles with 41 solo stops and Macken finished with 60 tackles including 34 solo stops. Sophomore Jaime Myers had 47 tackles overall, which was sixth on the Ichbods in 2012. Redshirt freshman Cody Heiman will also see time after missing the final nine games last season with an injury. Sophomore Shay Wooten recorded 25 tackles appearing in all 11 games will also compete for time in the rotation. Senior Isaac Wright recorded 22 tackles playing in seven games as well as junior Mark Kolmer, who returns after missing last season with an injury will also be in the mix for time. Others who will compete for time will be newcomers D.J. Wakes, Carl Hendricks and Fredrick Freeman and Randy Luedke.
Defensive Line
Up front the Ichabods return two starters from last season in seniors Jake Cervantes and Adebayo Oladapo and fellow senior Cameron Jackson will also return after missing the 2012 season with an injury. Cervantes had 35 tackles with three for loss and two sacks while Oladapo had 25 tackles with 2.5 for loss adding an interception as well. Junior Bryan Dale enters fall camp at a starter at defensive tackle after recording 13 tackles last season and he will be pushed by junior Tyler Ewy who recorded 18 stops last year. At the defensive end spots, juniors Alex Dowty and Akhmad Abdul-Razzaq will also be in the mix for time. Other returners who will look for time will be Troy Penny, Jacob Stone, Trey Parker and Mark Rollison at the tackle spots while Spenser Matthews, Stanley Travis, Jeremy Boyd and Josh Sanders will compete for time at defensive end.
The Ichabods will return senior cornerback Devon Connors and junior free safety Calvin Kenney entering this season. Connors recorded 25 tackles with two interceptions while Kenney finished third on the team with 65 stops and a pair of interceptions. Sophomore Jordan Nelson is slated to step into the other cornerback spot while returning senior Arlan Waller along with Brandon Downing, Dwayne Joseph and Zach Franklin will all compete for time. Also moving from offense to defense is Connor Crimmins who will be in the mix at free safety.
Special Teams
The Washburn special team units will have many of its key components returning from the 2012 season. Last season, the Ichabods finished 14th in the nation in net punting after averaging 37.18 yards per punt as a group. The Ichabods averaged 19.7 yards per kickoff return and 7.3 yards per punt return. In the MIAA rankings, Washburn was seventh in the conference in kickoff returns, while finishing fourth in average punting. The Ichabods were 7 of 9 overall on field goal attempts and 38 of 43 on point after touchdown kicks.
Junior Aaron Hummert returns after averaging 42.2 yards per punt en route to honorable mention all-MIAA honors. The punting averaged was the second-best single-season total in Washburn history as he propelled the Ichabods to the No. 14 national ranking in net punting.
There will be the same bloodline, but a different family member looks to take over the kicking duties this season as Jeremy Linn graduated passing the kicking responsibilities he has had for two years to his brother Justin, who redshirted as a freshman in 2012.
Kickoff Returners
Senior Mark Fancher will handle kickoff returns for the third-straight season. In 2012 he set a school record for the most kickoff returns and returns yardage in a single season after finishing third in the MIAA with 38 kickoffs for 786 yards averaging 20.7 per return. He will be joined by redshirt freshmen Terek Hawkins, Zach Franklin and sophomore Jordan Hart as well as senior Devon Connors.
Punt Returners
Sophomore Jaime Myers will be back to return punts after averaging 6.7 yards per return in 27 attempts. He will be joined by junior DaJuan Beard, who after sitting out the 2012 season averaged 11.8 yards per return as a freshman and 4.7 yards as a sophomore.
Aaron Hummert will hold for placekicking duties for the third-straight season.
Sophomore Connor Crimmins is set to handle the longsnapping chores this season and will be pushed by sophomore Adam Luthi for playing time. Set to take care of the short snaps for placekicking is junior Dylan Ready while incoming freshman Nathan Stanley could also see the field as well.

Washburn football history
Washburn is 517-554-44 (.480) in the 123rd year of Ichabod football.

A win for Washburn over Nebraska-Kearney would . . .
• lift the Ichabods to 518-554-44 in their football history.
• be the Ichabods’ fifth-straight over the Lopers.
• be the Ichabods’ first win in Kearney since a 29-12 win over the Lopers on Oct. 8, 1988.
• be the Ichabods’ sixth-straight season-opening-game win.
• make the Ichabods 8-14 all-time against the Lopers.
• improve the Ichabods to 13-12 in MIAA openers.
• move the Ichabods to 74-43-6 in their first game of the season.
• improve Washburn to 9-3 in season openers under head coach Craig Schurig.

A loss for Washburn to Nebraska-Kearney would . . .
• drop the Ichabods to 517-555-44 in their football history.
• drop the Ichabods to 7-15 all-time against the Lopers.
• be the first win by the Lopers over the Ichabods since a 21-16 win in Kearney on Nov. 9, 1985.
• snap a five-game season-opening winning streak for the Ichabods.
• snap a four-game winning streak by the Ichabods over the Lopers.

Ichabods in the national polls
WACO, Texas -- The Washburn Ichabod football team received votes in the 2013 American Football Coaches Association Presason poll which was released on last week. Under head coach Craig Schurig, the Ichabods have been in the AFCA poll 41 times and have received votes in each of the last eight preseason polls.

Up next
The Ichabods return to Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl to host Fort Hays State at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14.

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