Sports, UCM Sports

Mules turn to run game, defense in rout of Ichabods

With the University of Central Missouri’s 55-27 win over Washburn Saturday at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field, it would be easy to focus on the offensive explosion.  Yes, the Mules did rush for 314 yards and collect 441 total yards on 59 plays (7.5 yards per play). And yes, they did put up more than 48 points for the third straight game.

But this one belonged to the defense.  The Mules (4-0) held Washburn (1-3) to 361 yards—52 yards below their season average—and registered seven sacks (the Ichabods had allowed four all season).  They also had five quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery, and their first interception of the season.  

Mules head coach Jim Svoboda credited his squad’s depth for the dynamic defensive performance.

“That’s the pursuit that we stress,” he said.  “We can do that because we play a lot of players.  We’ve been running them hard, so our conditioning is really good.”

Junior defensive end Ubong Udom was the Ichabods’ primary nemesis.  He had five tackles and three sacks. Junior linebacker John Embrey added 10 tackles.

Offensively, one week after the Mules threw for 534 yards at Missouri Western, it was the running game that shined vs. Washburn.

“It was a weird game, wasn’t it?” Svoboda quipped after the game. “Where were all the long passes? Who took over as head coach?”

Junior running back Devante Turner rushed for 138 yards and four touchdowns and had 249 all-purpose yards.  Junior running back Koby Wilkerson added 108 yards and a pair of scores.  Senior quarterback Brook Bolles completed 11-of-21 passes for 127 yards with two TDs and a pair of interceptions.

“Whatever it takes,” Svoboda said.  “I thought we left some points out there.  Running the ball was working. We were milking the clock.  Even when they knew we were gonna run it, if the hole wasn’t there, the running backs created one.”

Svoboda was especially complimentary of his team’s line play.

“I thought that was the best game the offensive and defensive lines played, collectively, all year,” he said.  “They really got some movement.”

The Mules will try to improve to 5-0 when they take on Missouri Southern in Joplin Saturday.  Kick off is at 2 p.m.

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