SAN ANTONIO – The UIW Cardinals football team compiled 746 yards of total offense en route to a 63-44 victory in its home opener at Benson Stadium Saturday night.
The Cardinals' 402 rushing yards broke the previous record set in 2013 (396) while quarterback Jon Copeland connected on five touchdown passes, tying the single game record. Overall, Copeland was 25-of-40 for 344 yards.
"I was kinda nervous last game – just had a lot going on in my head," Copeland said after the win. "And, you know, just settle down this game and just really trust my team to make plays instead of me do too much or do too little. Put the ball in their hands and just let them go to work."
Ameer King and Kevin Brown both tallied over 100 rushing yards, with Keyondrick Philio added two touchdowns to the run game, including the game's first score just two minutes into the first quarter.
"Some will say we are probably the most talented group on the field." King, who averaged 11.2 yards per carry against the Tigers, said of the running back unit. "And that's our mindset. We've got to be the best on the field at all times, and we've got to believe in Jon and the O-line and the coaches to help us get better."
The Cardinals led by as many as 25 points after Copeland connected with King in the second quarter to make the score 35-10. The teams traded scores until the third quarter when TSU was able to pull within 12 after LaDarius Owens scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run to make the score 49-37. The Cardinals were able to pad a 12-point lead by scoring twice more to hold a 19-point victory.
UIW head Coach Eric Morris praised the way his offense was able to manage downs and convert drives into points.
"We stayed ahead of the chains, which was good I thought we were able to do a good job with that and ultimately I think we stayed on the field and put together some sustained drives and especially late in the game when they knew we were going to run it, we were slowing the game down, we were still able to get first downs and punch it in there at the end. I think that's a sign of a good team."
The Cardinals will have a bye week Saturday before traveling to face Sam Houston State on the road Sept 21.