Western travels to Washburn
Aug. 29, 2005
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - UPCOMING GAME: Western Washington University Vikings (1-0) vs. Washburn University Ichabods (1-0) at Yager Stadium (Grass-7,200 capacity) in a non-conference contest at 11 a.m. PT on Saturday, Sept. 3, at Topeka, Kan.
Both teams are coming off season-opening victories last week in Colorado. Western won 49-20 at Mesa State and Washburn took a 28-17 victory at NCAA Division II No.14-ranked Colorado Mines.
As with Mesa State, this is the first time that Western has faced Washburn.
The Vikings finished 6-4 overall last year and tied for second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 3-3 record. Western has won league titles four of the last six years and six crowns in 10 seasons.
Washburn University is coming off its first winning season since 1999. The Ichabods had an 8-4 overall record and placed third in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association at 6-3. The team capped its season with a 36-33 victory over Northern State (S.D.) in the Mineral Water Bowl, a postseason bowl game for Division II schools. Washburn is ranked fourth in the preseason MIAA poll, the highest rating in the school's history.
SERIES HISTORY: First meeting.
RADIO: KBAI (930 AM-Bellingham) is broadcasting all Western football games live this season with sports director Doug Lange handling the play-by-play duties for the 10th consecutive season. Providing the color commentary for the eighth straight year is former Viking quarterback Jason Stiles. The pre-game show with host Mark Scholten begins at 10:35 a.m. PT. The KBAI broadcast can also be heard on KLAY (1180 AM-Tacoma) and picked up via the Internet at wwuvikings.com.
The game also will be broadcast on WIBW (AM 580 - Topeka, Kan.) with Bruce Steinbrock calling the action and former WU quarterback Mark Elliott the color analyst.
2004 RESULTS: Western finished 6-4 and tied for second in the GNAC at 3-3. Washburn was 8-4, winning the Mineral Water Bowl 36-33 over Northern State SD, and placed third in the MIAA at 6-3.
WESTERN REPORT: The Vikings got the season off to a fast start with the 49-20 victory over Mesa State. The 49 points were the most scored by Western in a season opener since 1929, when it rolled up a 76-0 victory over the U.S. Coast Guard.
Keying the offensive attack was junior quarterback James Monrean, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 266 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. In two career starts, Monrean has thrown nine touchdowns, having tied a school record with five touchdown tosses in his only start last season.
Senior wide receiver Andy Olson, a preseason All-American in three publications who entered the year in the top four in school history in all career receiving categories, had eight receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore slotback Chris Robinson added four catches for 56 yards and a score.
The running game rolled up 218 yards on the ground. Senior Duncan Sherrard, Western's leading rusher each of the last three seasons and a first-team all-GNAC pick, rushed for 94 yards on 10 carries against Mesa State, including a 61-yard touchdown run, the longest rush for the Vikings since 1999. Another senior, Jake Carlyle, added 63 yards on 14 carries. They run behind an experienced offensive line anchored by senior center Loren Winter, a first-team all-GNAC pick last season.
On defense, the Vikings had just three players in the starting lineup who started the 2004 season opener, and five of the starters didn't play a down on defense for Western a year ago. Some of those newcomers made an immediate impact, holding Mesa State's option attack to 85 yards on the ground and 313 total.
Redshirt freshman strong safety Steve Davis had a team-high 12 tackes. Sophomore linebacker Shane Simmons, a transfer from Idaho, had a fumble recovery, and another transfer, senior cornerback Ekene Agwuenu, from Nevada, had an interception. Senior end Geoff Hise, who moved over from the offensive line, had four stops and also made a key special teams play, blocking a field goal that was scooped up by junior Sly Whitfield, Jr., and run in 75 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half.
The top returnee on defense is senior linebacker Craig Keenan. Keenan led Western in tackles last year with 85, including 5.5 for loss. Senior linebacker Adam Klingenberg had 58 stops last season, with seven for loss, and had nine tackles in the victory over Mesa State.
In the secondary, junior free safety Todd McClellan had 37 tackles last year. Williams, who didn't start last year's opener but did make seven starts at cornerback, shared the team lead in interceptions with three.
On special teams, sophomore Corbin Anderson averaged 36.0 yards a punt, and freshman Ace Younggren connected on all seven extra-point attempts. Redshirt freshman Jordyn Jackson averaged 34.5 yards on two kickoff returns.
WASHBURN REPORT: The Ichabods entered the 2005 campaign with momentum after notching their first winning campaign since 1999. They return 16 starters - seven on each side of the ball and both specialists - from last year's 8-4 team..
On offense, Washburn seeks to follow up a stellar 2004 performance in which the team set several school records, including passing touchdowns (34) and total offensive yards (5,099).
Sophomore Jordan Brill is the Ichabods' quarterback, taking over for graduated Tyler Schuerman, who finished his career with 11 school records. In seven games last year, Brill completed 45 of 80 passes for 542 yards and five touchdowns. Against Colorado Mines in just his second start, Brill connected on 14-of-25 attempts for 348 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
All of Brill's touchdown passes were to senior wide receiver Sam Sissom, a second-team all-MIAA and all-Region selection. They covered 62, 82 and 6 yards. That lifted Sissom's career touchdown total to 36, a school record. He also is tied for most points with 226.
The Ichabods return two running backs who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Sophomore Ra'Shawn Mosley rushed for 1,084 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2004, filling in for Trent Hearn, who was injured for much of the season. Hearn, a junior, rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a freshman in 2003. Hearn ran for 106 yards and one touchdown versus Colorado Mines, and Mosley netted 68 yards.
The offensive line is the least-experienced element of the Ichabods' offense, with just two starters returning. Two seniors, left guard Rudy Sué and left tackle Jim Holland, will anchor the line. Sué was a second team all-conference pick in 2004.
On defense, he Ichabods return four defensive linemen who started at one time or another in 2004 - juniors Trey Lewis and Nick Bull who will man one tackle spot and junior Cody Huenefeld and sophomore Dustin Moyer who will see time at one end spot. Lewis was a second-team all-MIAA selection in 2004.
At linebacker, senior Grant Gould has 343 career tackles and needs just seven more to become the school's career leader in that category. Senior cornerback Calvin Stuckey was MVP of the 2004 Mineral Water Bowl. Junior cornerback Fletcher Terrell is Washburn's career leader for passes defended with 40. With 11 interceptions, including two last week against Colorado Mines, he needs three to break that school career standard.
The Ichabods return both their punter and placekicker from last season. Senior punter Curtis Massey (41.4 avg.), a first-team all-MIAA pick in 2004, ranked tenth in the nation last year with a 40.9 yards per punt average. Junior placekicker Connor Sabel kicked the winning 32-yard field goal as time expired to win the 2004 Mineral Water Bowl.
WESTERN INJURY REPORT: Long snapper and backup defensive end Matt Overton is expected to miss four weeks with a sprained knee sustained against Mesa State. Placekicker Bobby Peck missed last week's opener with a muscle pull in his leg, but is expected back this week.
LAST MEETING: None
OLSON STREAKS AND MILESTONES: Senior wide receiver Andy Olson is working on a school and GNAC record string of touchdown catches in 10 consecutive games (two in seven of those contests). He ranks No.3 among Western career leaders in both touchdown catches (28, 2 short of record) and receptions (158, 23 short of record), and No.4 in receiving yards (2,601, 667 short of record). Last year, Olson set school and league records by making 15 touchdown catches. He had 68 receptions overall for 1,075 yards. He ranked No.9 nationally in receiving yards per game (107.5 avg.) and broke his own GNAC record. He also finished No.12 in receptions per game (6.8).
WESTERN NOTES: Monrean was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Mesa State ... The Vikings are now 5-0 against RMAC teams. They posted a 26-14 win over Chadron State in 1999 and won three times over Fort Lewis (48-10 in 2001, 52-14 in 2002 and 27-25 in 2004) ... Senior running back Duncan Sherrard ranks fifth among school career leaders in rushing yards with 2,352. He needs 286 to move into fourth place ... Sherrard's 61-yard touchdown scamper against Mesa State was the Vikings' longest run from scrimmage since 1999 ... Western's 49 points against the Mavericks were the most scored by the Vikings in an opener since 1929 ... The Vikings are 61-19 (.763) at home since Smith became head coach in 1989, and 12-4 in home openers.
COACHES: Rob Smith (Washington, 1981) is in his 17th year as head coach and his victory total (106-56-1) and winning percentage of .653 are the best in Western history. Smith has directed the Vikings to their only five national playoff berths in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999, and guided them to their best regular-season (No.1, 1995) and final (No.1, 1995) national rankings. He was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2003, Columbia Football Association Coach of the Year in 1989, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2000, and American Football Coaches Association College Division Region V Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1996.
Since taking over as the Ichabods' head coach in 2001, Craig Schurig (Colorado School of Mines, 1987) has led Washburn to a school-best finish in the MIAA and its first postseason win since 1986. In four seasons, he has compiled a 17-18 record. Washburn's best season during Schurig's tenure was 2004, the school's first winning season since 1999. The Ichabods were 8-4 overall and defeated Northern State, 36-33, in the postseason Mineral Water Bowl. Schurig has previously coached at Pittsburg State (Kan.) and Colorado Mines, where he also played as a defensive back.
TURNOVER/TAKEAWAY RATIO: Western had two takeaways and one turnover versus Mesa State. The Vikings have had a minus turnover/takeaway ratio over the past two seasons after being on the positive side in that category for 12 straight campaigns.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA PICKS: Western senior wide receiver Andy Olson was named to the Don Hansen's Football Gazette preseason All-America Team for the second straight year. He also was a second-team preseason All-American on www.CollegeSportsReport.com and d2football.com. Senior offensive center Loren Winter was a third-team www.CollegeSportsReport.com pick.
GNAC PRESEASON POLL: For the first time in nine years, Western is neither the favorite nor co-favorite to win a league title in football. This season, the Vikings were voted second behind arch-rival Central Washington in the GNAC Coaches Preseason Poll. The only other time during the past decade that they were not favored was in 1996.
The Vikings placed second in the GNAC in 2004 with a 3-3 record. They have won four league championships over the past six years, and six crowns in the last 10 campaigns. Western's lowest finish during that stretch was second in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2004.
Western got one first-place vote in this year's poll, with Central receiving the other three. The Wildcats finished with 15 points on the 4-3-2-1 system, with Western getting 12, Humboldt State nine and Western Oregon four.
FOR OPENERS: Western is now 12-5 in season debuts under head coach Rob Smith, winning back-to-back openers for the first time since 1998. The Vikings have won 14 of their last 20 openers, including a string of eight consecutive victories that ended in 1998, after losing 14 straight from 1972-85.
LAST WEEK: Western scored a pair of touchdowns in the final half-minute of the first half to take the lead for good and defeated Mesa State College, 49-20, in a non-conference football contest Saturday night at Stocker Stadium.
It was the season opener for both schools, and was the first time since 1998 that the Vikings have won consecutive season openers.
Western quarterback James Monrean completed 20 of 30 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns, and was intercepted once.
The Vikings won despite a massive night by Mesa State wide receiver Drew Bohannon. Bohannon, a sophomore transfer from Scottsdale JC playing his first game for the Mavericks, had seven receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
With the score tied 7-7 late in the first half, the Vikings put together a seven-play, 60-yard drive, capped by a 17-yard pass from Monrean to slotback Brett Upchurch with 28.3 seconds left in the second quarter.
Mesa State moved downfield in the dying seconds of the half, getting in range for a 36-yard attempt by Tyler Johnson. The kick missed, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave Johnson another shot from 24 yards. That attempt was blocked by Geoff Hise, and Sly Whitfield, Jr. caught the ball on a bounce and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the half, giving Western a 21-7 lead.
The Mavericks twice pulled to within eight points in the third quarter on touchdown receptions of 80 and 32 yards by Bohannon, and trailed just 28-20 entering the fourth quarter, but the Vikings put the game away in the first five minutes of the final period.
Monrean hit slotback Chris Robinson for a 3-yard score on the opening play of the fourth quarter. On Western's following possession, running back Duncan Sherrard slipped out of a tackle and ran 61 yards for a score, the longest run from scrimmage for Western since 1999, giving the Vikings a 42-20 lead with 12:07 to go.
Western running back Jordyn Jackson capped the scoring with five minutes left, having a run of 20 yards that set up a 3-yard scoring rush.
Mesa State took an early lead, driving 74 yards in 10 plays on the opening series and scoring on a 35-yard pass to Bohannon from quarterback Sean McGraw, who completed 13-of-26 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
The Vikings evened the score early in the second quarter on a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Matt Wilson.
The Vikings had a 492-313 edge in total offense, rushing for 218 yards. Sherrard had 10 carries for 94 yards and Jake Carlyle added 63 yards on 14 carries.
Western wide receiver Andy Olson, a preseason All-America pick in three publications, had eight receptions for 121 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that extended his string of games with a touchdown reception to 10. He had a school-record 15 scoring catches last year.
Safety Steve Davis had eight tackles for the Vikings in his first collegiate game. Two transfer newcomers - linebacker Shane Simmons and cornerback Ekene Agwuenu - had a fumble recovery and an interception, respectively.
It was the 13th consecutive loss for Mesa State, a streak that began in the 2003 NCAA Division II playoffs.
SCORING SUMMARY Western Washington 0 21 7 21 --- 49 Mesa State 7 0 13 0 --- 20Rushing: WWU-Sherrard 10-94-1, Carlyle 14-63, Jackson 3-28-1, Monrean 7-23, Tuggle 4-10; MSC-Simpson 22-44, McGraw 10-34, Coren 4-7.
Passing: WWU-Monrean 30-20-1-266, Perry 1-1-0-8; MSC-McGraw 26-13-1-228
Receiving: WWU-Olson 8-121-1, Robinson 4-56-1, Wilson 3-38-1, Yoney 2-28, Carlyle 2-4, Upchurch 1-17-1, Sherrard 1-10; MSC-Bohannan 7-212-3, Simpson 2--6, Schneider 1-13, Able 1-5, Coren 1-4, Whittington 1-0.
NEXT GAME: Western makes its home debut Sept. 10 (6 p.m.) in a non-conference contest against St. Cloud State MN at Bellingham's Civic Stadium.
WEBSITE: For the latest results, statistics and updates, including reports on all Western athletic events, visit the Vikings website at wwuvikings.com.
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