HOUSTON – The UIW Cardinals used their air rade offense and improving defense to defeat No. 25 Houston Baptist 38-36 at Husky Field on Saturday night.
A week after a subpar performance, Cardinals quarterback Jon Copeland rebounded in a big way. He completed 33-of-44 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns, making it his second 300-yard passing game of the season.
Copeland got to work early as he took UIW 75 yards downfield on a nine-play drive, finding Lamont Johnson in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown. The lead was short-lived because HBU’s Gamar Brito returned the ball for an 87-yard touchdown on the ensuing kick off to tie the game.
The Cardinals’ defense stepped up, picking off HBU quarterback Bailey Zappe. This would lead to another UIW score as Copeland found Sullivan for a 31-yard touchdown, putting UIW up 14-7. The Huskies put a small dent into the UIW lead when Gino Garcia hit a 49-yard field goal but the Cardinals answered right back. Marquez Perez took a direct snap and rushed six yards to the end zone for another touchdown.
The second half saw HBU come out of the locker room strong but UIW’s defense locked down. On the next drive, Copeland threw three consecutive passes of ten-plus yards, setting up Williams for the touchdown, putting UIW up 35-23.
Overall, Copeland and Williams connected for six receptions for 78 yards.
HBU did not go down without a fight as they added one more touchdown late in the fourth quarter but the Cardinals would put together one final drive to put three points on the scoreboard, sealing the 38-36 win.
The UIW Cardinals are now 3-2 (2-1, SLC) on the season and will return to the field next Saturday when they face Southeastern Louisana (3-2, 2-1) at 6 p.m. to continue their road trip.