SAN ANTONIO – A season-best performance from quarterback Jon Copeland led the No. 25 UIW Cardinals to a 35-17 home victory over Lamar on Saturday night at Benson Stadium.
The Cardinals were led by Copeland, who threw for a season-best 376 yards and four touchdowns. With the win, UIW stayed undefeated at home under head coach Eric Morris and won their fourth consecutive game.
Jon [Copeland] played his best game of the year,” Morris said. “He was efficient, he saw the field really well. He was 24-35 and I can think of three passes that were dropped. The defense got some turnovers, special teams got some turnovers. I thought it was a complete game and we fought until the end, so I’m happy about that.”
The Cardinals got on the scoreboard early in the first quarter as Copeland led the team down the field on a six-play, 75-yard drive as he connected with Lamont Johnson on a 34-yard pass for a touchdown. Lamar answered back quickly as Jordan Hoy got loose for a 73-yard run for a score, making it a 7-7 ball game.
From there, it was all UIW as the Cardinals scored 21 straight points to take full control. Copeland took the team downfield and found Brady Rogers for a 24-yard score, capping off a seven-play, 45-yard drive. Ameer King and Keyondrick Philio teamed up for the next UIW score as King got the ball and took it 90 yards downfield. From there, Philio ran it in from two yards out as the Cardinals took a 20-7 lead.
Before halftime, Copeland found Johnson for a 32-yard score and the Cardinals converted a two-point conversion to lead 28-7 at halftime.
The visitors cut into the UIW lead in the third quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run by Myles Wanza. Mark Sullivan weaved his way into the end zone to extend the Cardinals lead to 35-14.
Lamar added a field goal to cap off the scoring as the Cardinals got the 35-17 win.
The win moved UIW to 4-1 in conference play and with the homecoming game next weekend, that record may only get better.
I think this team is close to being a championship-caliber team,” Morris said. “I don’ think we’re there yet, but we’re really close. So that’s exciting. There’s a lot of things that are like a rolodex in my head right now, things we could have capitalized on. We’re getting close.”
The UIW Cardinals are now 5-2 (4-1, SLC) on the season and will return to the field next Saturday when they host Northwestern State at Benson Stadium at 4 p.m. Central Time.