The Griffons keep their playoffs hopes alive after beating Washburn 34-31 in Topeka, Kan.
The win ends a two game losing skid for Western and Running back Raphael Spencer was a huge factor.
Travis partridge threw the first touchdown of the game when he hooked up with wideout Derek Libby on a 2-yard pass.
Western suffered some misfortune on special teams and it resulted in Ichabods points.
After starting at good field position, back-up quarterback Joel Piper was able to hook up with wideout DaJuan Beard for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The game was then tied 7-7.
On Western’s next drive, Spencer marched the Griffons down the field. He capped the drive off with a 6-yard touchdown and Western was up 14-7 early in the second quarter.
Spencer carried the ball 27 times for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He was named MIAA Player of the week for his performance.
“When we came into the game, we knew we wanted to run the ball,” Spencer said. “We wanted to make a statement and that’s what we did.”
Both defenses played solid early, but turnovers would ultimately dig Washburn in a hole.
Partridge was able to run for a 1-yard touchdown, after the Ichabods fumbled a punt at their own 9-yard line.
Both defenses played solid for stretches of the game. Field goals were traded between the two teams, but Western defense, led by linebacker Yomi Ali, came up with big plays when needed.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, safety Marc Harrison was able to come with a crucial interception and it put the Griffons in great field position.
“It was a big, emotional game and we really wanted to come back and show what we are made of,” Ali said. “We were just swarming to the ball. There were always guys around the football and that really helps.”
With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Washburn kept finding ways to score the ball. After western converted on a field goal, Piper orchestrated a drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wideout Tore’ Hurst.
Western was still up 27-17 late in the fourth.
To finish out the game, the Griffons gave the ball to Spencer, who broke off a 47-yard touchdown run to give Western more breathing room.
After a failed attempt at an onside kick, Western ran the clock out and escaped Topeka with their 8th win of the season.
Tight end Reggie Jordan felt that the win was a big weight off of his shoulders and the teams.
“Win over Washburn was a relief honestly,” Jordan said. “It feels good being back on track. It made me appreciate winning that much more.”