Winning season for Peacocks

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Beat WSU, 23-21
Winning season for Peacocks

By Jerry Wadian

Upper Iowa football assured itself of its first winning season since 1999 when it defeated Wayne State University, 23-21, Saturday, Nov. 9, in Wayne, Neb.

The win also marks the first winning season for the team since moving provisionally to DII in 2003. UIU was granted full DII membership in 2005 and joined the NSIC in 2006.

Current head football coach Tom Shea joins Paul Rudolph as the only winning football coaches since 1966!

The Peacocks were sluggish in the first half, trailing WSU, 13-0 at one point in the second quarter. UIU’s first score of the half was a safety by Jordan Andera. The South Winn alum blocked a Wildcat PAT kick and ran it back 98 yards for two points.

Upper Iowa added a TD of its own in the final minute of the half to trail by five, 13-8, going into the second half of play.

WSU drove early in the third quarter, but the UIU defense held on fourth-and-three on its own 34 as Alex Wahl and Weston Neuendorf combined on a QB sack.

An inspired UU offense proceeded to drive 64 yards in 10 plays to take a 14-13 lead. The Peacocks tacked on another TD in the third quarter and a field goal in the final quarter.

Wayne State made a last-gasp effort, scoring with 44 seconds left in the game. An onside kick was recovered by UIU, and the Peacocks ran out the clock for the winning season.

Once again the Peacock offense was led by running back Chris Smith, who ran 39 times for 155 yards and two scores. QB Cole Jaeschke was 21-39 for 164 yards and a 26-yard touchdown strike to Drew Kaluzny.

UIU’s defense limited the Wildcats to under 300 total yards. Keaton Martin had a team-high 11 tackles; Ethan Douglas and Martin led the team with six solo tackles apiece.

Afterwards Shea stated, “I think we were sluggish in the first half because we’ve never played for anything before! It’s a really special experience.

“We cleaned some things up at halftime and came out in the second half with fire and energy.”

Next up for the Peacocks is undefeated Mankato State, currently sitting atop the DII rankings.

Game time will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Harms-Eischeid Field in Fayette.

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