SAN ANTONIO – No. 25 UIW improved to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in Southland Conference action with a 35-17 victory over Lamar University Saturday at Benson Stadium.
The UIW offense had no problem against the conference's most stringent passing defense, putting up 150 more yards than Lamar had allowed on average per contest. Sophomore quarterback Jon Copeland tallied a season-best 376 passing yards and four touchdowns in the win.
Head Coach Eric Morris praised Copeland's performance after the game.
"Jon Copeland played his best game of the year," he said. "He was efficient, he saw the field really well. He was 24-35 and I can think of three passes that were drops."
The Cardinals took a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of regulation and never trailed, taking a 28-7 lead into halftime. Copeland threw touchdowns to four different receivers and attributed his success to both his receivers and the offensive line.
"The defense was blitzing a lot at the beginning of the game, and our o-line did a great job picking that up and giving me a little bit of time to throw the ball down the field when they were in that man coverage," Copeland said. "Our receivers were just making plays and it really showed. It was really awesome."
Lamar halved the lead in the third quarter after a 10-yard run from Myles Wanza but UIW was able to respond on the ensuing drive. A 32-yard touchdown pass to Mark Sullivan capped an eight play, 75-yard drive.
The UIW defense also added two interceptions, bringing their season total to 15 -- tops in the FCS.
"I think this team is close to being a championship-caliber team," Morris said. "I don't 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. Our coaches will continue to coach really hard. I love this group of coaches, I love this group of young men. I told them to enjoy tonight, and tomorrow we're coming back ready to work because we have big goals."
UIW is back in action next Saturday as the Cardinals host Northwestern State at 4 p.m.