Ted Harshbarger, Associate Athletic Director
PERU, Neb. – The blustering winds of up to 50 miles per hour hampered both teams throughout the game. But at the end it was the only completed pass for Peru State that won the football game in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Saturday.
The Bobcats came from 17 points down to lead 20-17 before William Penn (WPU) tied it up to force overtime. Neither team could score in the first OT as the Bobcats blocked a field goal try. In the second overtime, the Statesmen would again have to try a field goal and it was wide right.
On Peru State’s first play of the second overtime, Dan Boshart (Wood River) completed his only pass of the day, but it was the most important one, as he found Colton Audsley (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) in the end zone. The ‘Cats would win 26-20.
At the end of the game, both teams would have identical records. They are 3-5 overall and more importantly, both are 1-1 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) North Division.
This was Peru State’s second-straight win over William Penn. The Bobcats had not been in an overtime game in over four years as they lost in OT to Evangel on Sept. 27, 2014.
First Quarter Action
The Statesmen took the opening kickoff and went 65 yards in seven plays to take the early 7-0 lead.
On Peru State’s first possession, they were forced to punt. John Brady’s (Hickman) punt was aided by the wind and went 74 yards with William Penn taking over on their four-yard line.
Sixteen plays later, the first quarter would end with the Statesmen on Peru State’s 25-yard line leading 7-0.
Second Quarter Action
Six plays into the second quarter, William Penn decided to go for it on fourth and three and the Bobcat defense stopped them at the two-yard line.
Peru State could not do anything on their next series and the wind forced the punt to just travel 17 yards and be out-of-bounds at the Bobcats’ 23-yard line. A good defensive effort by the ‘Cats only allowed the Statesmen to just get a field goal from 35 yards out to lead 10-0 with 8:03 left in the first half.
The Bobcats would move the ball some in their next possession which was highlighted by a 42-yard run by Tajh Eaddy (Spencerport, N.Y.). However, Peru State’s drive stalled and William Penn took over on their 47-yard line. Four plays later, the Statesmen scored and would lead 17-0 with 1:54 left in the half.
On Peru State’s next possession, after a two short carries by the ‘Cats, Eaddy would go 72 yards to get the Bobcats on the board. The PAT was no good, so Peru State would end up trailing 17-6 at halftime.
Third Quarter Action
On William Penn’s first possession of the second half on third and nine, Jordan Willis (Denver) forced a fumble while was recovered by Stephen Bowers (La Vista) on the Statesmen’s 24-yard line.
Boshart would carry for 11 yards for a first down. Then, after two short carries, Audsley would go in from 12 yards out for the score. Brady’s PAT was good and with 11:54 left in the third quarter, the score was now William Penn 17, Peru State 13.
The teams would trade a couple of different possessions with the quarter ending with the same 17-13 lead by the Statesmen.
Fourth Quarter Action
Peru State had two plays on their next drive that started at the end of the third quarter on WPU’s 30-yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Audsley would go seven yards to give the Bobcats a first down on the Statesmen’s 19-yard line. On third and five, Eaddy would go eight yards to give the ‘Cats a first and six. Eaddy would go for four yards and then Boshart would have to go twice on the quarterback keeper to score. Brady’s PAT was good and the Bobcats led 20-17 with 11:30 left in the contest.
William Penn would get a field goal on their next possession to tie the game at 20-20.
Three possessions later, the Bobcats would start on their 20-yard line with 1:24 left in the game. William Penn used three timeouts on the drive which resulted in another bad punt forced by the wind out of bounds on the Bobcats’ 31-yard line. Two carries moved the ball down to the ‘Cats 22-yard line where the Statesmen’s 39-yard field goal went wide left as time expired in regulation.
Four consecutive carries in Peru State’s first attempt in overtime did not net a first down.
William Penn would get a first down and then on third and four on the Bobcats’ four-yard line, the Statesmen were called for an illegal shift. Peru State would stop the Statesmen for a loss of one on the play, forcing a 27-yard field goal attempt. Vic Hubbard (Corinth, Texas) would get his fifth field goal block of the season with Bowers recovering the ball to force the second overtime.
After a false start started the second OT for William Penn, they eventually were helped with a pass interference call to move the ball to Peru State’s 13-yard line. The Statesmen were only able to move the ball two yards and were forced to try another field goal attempt. This one went wide right, giving the ‘Cats life.
It only took one play for Peru State as Boshart found Audsley for 25 yards and the Bobcats won the game 26-20.
The statistics are as close as the final score; however, most of the stats were in the Statesmen’s favor. William Penn finished with 15 first down compared to 13 for the Bobcats. The Statesmen had 298 total yards – 231 yards coming on the ground while the ‘Cats finished with 261 yards – all but the 25-yard touchdown by rushing.
The Statesmen fumbled three times with Peru State grabbing one recovery.
William Penn had eight penalties for 80 yards while the ‘Cats had seven flags for 69 yards.
The time of possession was clearly in William Penn’s favor as they controlled the ball for nearly 36 minutes of the contest in regulation play.
Eaddy led all rushers with 160 net yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. Boshart added 52 yards and one touchdown while Audsley had 17 yards and one TD.
Boshart was just one of four, but the one mattered as it went 25 yards for the touchdown pass to Audsley.
Special Team Statistics
Brady punted three times for 99 yards and had one land inside the 20-yard line. Boshart punted once for 41 yards which went for a touchback.
Anthony Luckett (Los Angeles) had two kickoff returns for eight yards.
Zach Taylor (Gillette, Wyo.) again led the Bobcat defense finishing with 15 total tackles – five of which were solo. He added half a sack for a loss of one yard. Luis Constantino (Varzea Grande, Brazil) added 13 tackles – four solo and had a sack for a loss of 1.5 yards.
Travis Reed (Hickman) and Tommy Hope (Ridgecrest, Calif.) also finished with double-digit tackles. Reed had 11 tackles – four solo and added 1.5 tackles for losses of 4.3 yards. Hope had ten total tackles – four solo and had half a sack for a loss of one-half yard.
Langdon Douglas (Kansas City, Mo.) and Willis each finished with nine tackles. Douglas had six solo tackles and one tackle for a loss of one yard. Willis had one solo tackle and shared a sack and added three tackles for loss of 14.3 yards. Willis also forced a fumble.
Javon Ponton (Ocala, Fla.) added eight tackles – four solo while Nate Barbary (Rockford, Ill.) finished with five tackles – one solo. Barbary was also credited for a half a sack for a half a yard.
Peru State will be on the road again next week as they will travel to Lamoni, Iowa, to face Graceland in a 1 p.m. contest. The Yellowjackets are winless on the season at 0-8 and are 0-2 in the Heart North. Graceland has only been close in one contest, but has shown they can score.