Washburn uses big second half to beat Central Oklahoma

Washburn runningback Vershon Moore drags the defense on this run play.
Washburn runningback Vershon Moore drags the defense on this run play.

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The No. 18 Washburn Ichabods trailed for the first time this season but rallied to take a 28-19 win over Central Oklahoma to remain perfect at 4-0. Washburn returns to action next Saturday at Southwest Baptist with a 2 p.m. start in Bolivar, Mo.

Central Oklahoma scored the first points of the game with eight minutes to play in the first quarter on a Adrian Nelson to Marquez Clark for 34 yards as the Bronchos scored the only points of the quarter.

The Ichabods tied the score when Vershon Moore capped a 9-play, 55-yard drive with a 1-yard dive with 10:39 left in the first half. It would be the only points of the first half for the Ichabods as the score was tied at 7-7.

Washburn scored the first points of the second half after each team traded punts on their first two drives of the half. Mitch Buheler hit Tyrell Brown for an 80-yard touchdown strike on a third and one to put the Ichabods up 14-7. Central Oklahoma used three plays and 89 yards to cut the Washburn lead to 14-13 with 1:31 left in the third quarter after Seth Hiddink’s point after attempt was missed.

After a 49-yard kickoff return by Devon Connors setting Washburn up and the UCO 40, Buhler connected with Moore for a 40-yard screen pass putting Washburn up 21-13 with 1:11 to play.

After the Ichabods forced a punt on UCO’s next drive Washburn was intercepted returning the ball back to the Bronchos. The Ichabod defense forced another UCO punt, but Washburn muffed the return and UCO recovered at the Ichabod 1-yard line. Two plays later UCO scored on a 1-yard run by Josh Birmingham. UCO went for two, but the pass was broken up by Dwayne Joseph.

Moore wrapped up another drive with a 5-yard score on the ground with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter finishing the scoring for each team.

Washburn finished with season lows of 15 first downs and 47 rushing yards on 36 carries in the game. The Bronchos recorded 21 first downs and 131 yards on the ground.

Buhler finished with 349 yards passing going 17 of 29 with one interception and two touchdown passes. Brown had career-highs of four catches for 117 yards. Moore had four catches for 92 yards and one score and Jordan Hart and four catches for 86 yards.

Defensively, the Ichabods were led by Bryce Atagi who had 12 tackles with eight solo stops and 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack. Ryan Macken had 11 tackles with five solo stops. Calvin Kenney and D.J. Wakes each had 10 tackles. Washburn finished with seven tackles for loss for 28 yards and three sacks for 17 yards.

Birmingham had 18 carries for 69 yards and one score and Adrian Nelson was 22 of 37 for 308 yards with one score and two interceptions. Clark finished with seven catches for 125 yards and the one score.

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