Washburn Football enters 2014 at number 22 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 8-3 (7-3) Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association
The Ichabods looked absolutely fantastic for the first eight games of last season. They were undefeated during that streak, in which they scored less than 41 only once, allowed more than 21 only once, and won by an average score of 46.9-14.4. Sitting in absolute control of their own destiny at the top of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, they looked unstoppable.
For the first three quarters of the season they looked like the class of the MIAA, but Washburn had a bit of a back-loaded schedule. I don’t say this to discount their play for the first part of the season, which was great, I say this to try to explain the last part. Their first eight opponents had an average HeroSports of 85.1 (based on our 2014 preseason rankings), and the best among them was Fort Hays State at BR50. Their final three opponents were BR4 Northwest Missouri State (who went on to win the National Championship), BR12 Missouri Western State, and BR16 Emporia State. The Ichabods lost all three games, finished fifth in the conference they were in control of just three weeks prior, and missed playoffs.
-Kyle Duncan OL – First team All-MIAA
-Matt Kobbeman WR – Honorable mention All-MIAA, 33 catches, 480 yards, 3 TDs
-Tore’ Hurst TE/FB – First team All-MIAA, 40 catches, 575 yards, 7 TDs
-Cameron Jackson DE – First team All-MIAA, 39 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 1 FR, 1 blocked kick
-Bryce Atagi LB – First team All-MIAA, 90 tackles, 10 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 5 INTs, 10 pass defences, 1 FF, 1 FR
-DJ Wakes DB – Second team All-MIAA, 52 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INTs, 6 pass defences, 1 FR, 2 FFs
What to Watch For
Depleted Defense – The Ichabods were the fourth best defense in the MIAA in yards allowed per game last season (344 ypg), and the third best in scoring (21.4 ppg), but they lost a lot of talent and experience on the defensive side of the ball. Four players had two or more interceptions for Washburn last season – all of them graduated. Five players had more than five tackles for a loss last season – all of them graduated. Four players had more than two sacks last season – three of them graduated. Are you detecting a pattern here? Seven of the Ichabods’ top 11 tacklers from last season are gone this season. They’re going to be a largely untested unit this season, especially least early-on.
The schedule-makers were even less kind to Washburn football this season than they were in 2013. Their average opponent last season had a HeroSports of 64.8, but this season? 38.5. They’ll play BR7 Pittsburg State, BR12 Missouri Western State, and BR16 Emporia State at home, and BR14 Central Missouri and reigning National Champion BR4 Northwest Missouri State on the road. All of these games will be played with a raw, inexperienced defense. Not ideal. Expect a similar MIAA finish for the Ichabods this season, somewhere in the third to fifth range. Playoffs are probably out of reach, but if they can win three of their five top 25 matchups, this season should be considered a success.