Car­di­nals keep on soar­ing

UIW fin­ishes with un­de­feated record at home

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - College Football - By Greg Luca STAFF WRITER

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.”

Kin Man Hui / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

UIW’s Kody Ed­wards, right, scores one of his two TDs as Sam Hous­ton State’s Will Lock­ett de­fends.

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