ABILENE – The Incarnate Word Cardinals used a strong defensive performance to defeat the Abilene Christian Wildcats (2-3, 1-2) 44-34 at Wildcat Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The win was the second straight for the Cardinals, who are a perfect 2-0 in Southland Conference play for the first time in ten years. Overall, UIW has won two of its last three games.
Additionally, the win surpassed the Cardinals’ win total from a season ago when they finished 1-10.
“We’re getting better,” UIW Head Coach Eric Morris said. “We have a true freshman quarterback He’s learning, and he’s learning fast. The boys are playing hard together, and that’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
The two teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter as the first 15 minutes ended with the score knotted at 14 apiece. Abilene Christian took the lead in the second quarter when Tracy James ran the ball in from one yard out to go up 21-14.
UIW answered back thanks to the play of quarterback Jon Copeland and running back Ra’Quanne Dickens. Copeland ran for 21 yards on the next drive, setting up Dickens’ one-yard score to tie the game up.
The Cardinals trailed 28-27 at halftime but would allow just six points total in the second half. UIW took the lead for good on a trick play as wide receiver Kam Williams found Copeland all alone in the end zone for the go-ahead score to take a 34-28 lead.
The story of the second half belonged to the Cardinals’ defense. UIW had an interception, a forced fumble, and a several key stops on defense to seal the win.
“The defense didn’t play very well in the first half, but we made some adjustments and we came out and executed at a really high level in the second half,” Morris said. “So as a coach, you know, it was disappointing in the first half because I know what those kids have in them, and then they came out and proved me right.”
Incarnate Word is now 2-3 (2-0, SLC) on the season and will return to the field next Saturday when they return home to welcome Southeastern Louisiana to Benson Stadium at 4 p.m. CT.