Cardinals keep on soaring
UIW finishes with undefeated record at home
As Incarnate Word celebrated on the field after Saturday’s 43-26 victory against No. 21 Sam Houston State, coach Eric Morris grabbed a microphone and addressed the crowd of 5,643 — a season high at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium.
After thanking them for helping the Cardinals to an undefeated home record, he left them with a request.
“Our season ticket sales for next year should double,” Morris said.
Morris is continuing to build a program in his first season, with the latest win moving the Cardinals (5-4, 5-2) in position to contend for a Southland Conference championship entering their final league game next week.
“For us to go undefeated at home, I think they deserve to have a fan base behind them. I think we’ll continue to build that,” Morris said. “I think we play a fun brand of football. It'll be a team here that I think we can get San Antonio behind. San Antonio is itching for a great college football program right now, right?”
UIW finished its home slate 5-0, including beating No. 6 McNeese on Oct. 20.
With McNeese losing 23-6 to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, UIW enters next week’s Southland finale on the road against Central Arkansas with a tie for the conference lead.
The final hurdle will be significant as the Cardinals are 1-4 on the road this year.
“That’s something we have to get past,” defensive lineman Lukas Termin said. “We haven’t been good on the road, but that’s even something more to add to the fire.”
Saturday, UIW used a program-record seven turnovers to overcome a slow offensive start.
The Cardinals gained just 62 yards on their first seven drives, but the Cardinals adjusted and averaged 9.3 yards per play the rest of the way.
Quarterback Jon Copeland finished 16-of-31 passing for 324 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Kody Edwards had 122 receiving yards and two scores, while Phillip Baptiste and Ameer King also hauled in scoring passes.
UIW scored 23 points off Sam Houston State’s three interceptions and four lost fumbles.
Sam Houston State senior defensive end Derick Roberson, a former Brennan standout, recorded a pair of sacks to push his FCS-leading total to 13½ sacks. He also forced a fumble.
“Best defensive lineman in the league we’ve faced. Not even close,” Morris said. “He does a phenomenal job. We'll see him playing on Sundays.”
UIW’s Kody Edwards, right, scores one of his two TDs as Sam Houston State’s Will Lockett defends.