TOPEKA, Kan. — The Northeastern State football team fell 24-20 Saturday night to No. 9-ranked Washburn University at Yager Stadium on Saturday night.
The RiverHawks (0-3, 0-3 MIAA) racked up a season-high 423 yards of offense to just 286 for the Ichabods (3-0, 3-0 MIAA). NSU held Washburn to just 93 total yards in the second half.
NSU was led by sophomore running back Joel Rockmore, who recorded a career-high 176 rushing yards on just 15 carries. Fellow sophomore back Terrance Dixon recorded 61 yards on 16 carries, helping the road team out-gain Washburn on the ground 251-119. Of those 251 rushing yards, 199 came in the second half as the RiverHawks began to control the line of scrimmage.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Deaton was 17-for-39 passing for 172 yards, one touchdown and two crucial interceptions. Senior wide receiver Jermaine Sherman recorded six catches for 84 yards.
Washburn quarterback Mitch Buhler was 16 of 32 for 169 yards, one TD and one INT. Hayden Groves led the rushing attack with 19 carries for 47 yards, and Matt Kobbeman recorded five catches for 91 yards.
NSU got on the board first following a 46-yard field goal from junior kicker Drew Patton on the team’s first possession. The made field goal was the first of the season for the RiverHawks.
The Ichabods responded on their opening drive when Buhler found Tore’ Hurst for a nine-yard score at the 7:37 mark of the first quarter.
NSU answered 2:34 later when Deaton hit Sherman in stride for a 46-yard touchdown, giving the road team a 10-7 advantage.
Washburn regained the lead on the first play of the second quarter when Devon Connors blocked a punt by sophomore Dylan Beers and returned it for a touchdown.
WU kicker Jeremy Linn added to the lead at the 5:53 mark, converting a 26-yard field goal. The Ichabods entered halftime with a 24-10 advantage after Kameron Stewart scored on a one-yard rush with 32 seconds left in the half. This play followed an interception throw from Deaton five plays earlier.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but a three-yard rushing TD from Rockmore with 10:43 to play in the fourth put the Washburn advantage at 24-17.
Northeastern State forced a three-and-out, and a 66-yard carry from Rockmore on the enxt possession helped set up a 27-yard field goal for the RiverHawks to cut the lead to 24-20 with 7:09 to play.
NSU moved the ball well in the second half, and they had two final possessions to take the lead. However, a fumble from Rockmore and an interception from Deaton sealed NSU’s fate and ended the upset bid.
Northeastern State will return to Doc Wadley Stadium for a meeting with Emporia State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 29.