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The Antelope

Football falls to top-ranked passing attack in the MIAA

UNK’s Tamicus Napier goes to the ground after getting tripped up against Washburn. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

The Loper football team hit the road to take on the No. 1 ranked passing offense in the MIAA on Saturday, Central Missouri.

The UNK defense kept the Lopers in it in the first half, but Central Missouri would pull away in the second half, winning 38-14.

Things started out well for the Mules at home, with a four-play drive resulting in a 61-yard passing touchdown from Zach Zebrowski, who leads the MIAA in passing yards and touchdowns.

Both teams traded punts, and then UNK was able to get on the board on a 21-yard touchdown pass from TJ Davis to Cole Brown.

The Lopers were  down 10-7 midway through the second quarter, but an interception from Davis would change things. Central Missouri used the short field to their advantage, scoring on another Zebrowski passing touchdown, and the Mules carried a 17-7 lead into the half.

To start the second half, UNK pieced together a 10-play drive, but then Gabe Heins missed a 34-yard field goal, giving all the momentum back to the Mules. It was his second miss of the game.

From there, Central Missouri started to pull away. They scored on two straight possessions, and took advantage of a second Davis interception to go up 31-7 after the third quarter.

“When you don’t score when you get those opportunities, it’s hard for a defense to keep going out there and playing,” said coach Ryan Held. “I really thought in all of the phases, we had a good game plan, we just didn’t execute at the level it’s going to need to beat the 18th-ranked team in the country.”

UNK had a 13-play drive midway through the fourth quarter, but a third Davis interception virtually ended the game. Central Missouri would score again to make it 38-7.

The Lopers would get a touchdown late, on a 22-yard passing touchdown from backup quarterback Sean Johnson Jr. to Bailey Torres.

For the Lopers, Davis went 18-30 with 235 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Zane Schawang led the rushing attack, carrying the ball eight times for 38 yards. UNK allowed Zebrowski to throw for 434 yards and five touchdowns. UNK ran 10 more plays, and were only outgained by 11 total yards.

The Lopers fall to 2-4 on the season, and have a rivalry matchup Saturday on the road against Fort Hays State. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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Jon Willis
Jon Willis, Reporter
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