Quarterback Jake Spitzlberger didn’t miss a start in his four-year career at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
“He walks out the door, and it’s been a revolving door since then with injuries,” UNK coach Darrell Morris said.
Sophomore Tyler McKeone ran for 87 yards and two scores in his first start Saturday in a 24-14 win over Lincoln University. The redshirt sophomore from Lexington is the 12th player to play quarterback for the Lopers over the last two years and the seventh to start a game.
UNK’s top three this season — sophomore Bronson Marsh (Millard South), redshirt freshman Sam Brauer (Seward) and true freshman Luke McNitt (Kearney) — have been out with injuries, as has receiver-QB Matt Berry (McCook).
Marsh, a transfer from Nebraska who has been out three weeks with a knee injury, will start working out this week but isn’t expected to play Saturday. Brauer broke his arm and is out for the season.
McKeone and McNitt, who has been hampered by a pulled hamstring, will be available Saturday.
Morris said the Lopers aren’t doing anything different from those days with Spitzlberger, other than moving to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. He said it’s just bad luck.
“At the end of last year, we hoped it would end,” he said. “We felt like, ‘All right, there’s no way it could happen two years in a row.’ It has. We’re just getting pretty good at getting a guy ready really quick.
“We don’t freak out about it and the kids don’t freak out about it. That is important.”
The Lopers (2-5, 2-4 MIAA) have been running a heavy set with six offensive linemen. One — Cole Manhart — is being used as a wingback, just off the shoulder of the tight end, to help create some mismatches, Morris said.
UNK has had a few 300-plus yard games with that lineup.
“We’re not throwing the ball a ton,” Morris said. “We’re just running the ball a lot.”
On Saturday, UNK ran the ball 64 times and passed it 12.
Hayden Hawk honored
Central Missouri quarterback Hayden Hawk has been named the MIAA offensive athlete of the week.
The 6-foot junior from Coppell, Texas, was at the University of Nebraska at Omaha before that program was disbanded. This is his first season as the starter for the Mules, and he ranks ninth in Division II in passing yards (2,165) and in the top 15 in five passing categories.
In Saturday’s 48-16 win over Central Oklahoma, he went 23 of 26 for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 20 yards as UCM (3-4, 2-4) piled up more than 600 yards of total offense.
» Greg Conry saved the day for Peru State on Saturday, kicking a 32-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bobcats a 31-28 victory over Culver-Stockton.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Zach Lempka blocked a Culver-Stockton 40-yard field goal try. The No. 12 Bobcats held Culver-Stockton to 75 yards rushing.
Fullback Ethan Bray had a career-high 252 yards rushing on 40 attempts, tying the school’s single-game record.
» Morningside College has designated its home football game against Briar Cliff on Saturday as “Let’s Pack the House and Together Beat Cancer.”
The event is in honor of linebacker Austin Granatowicz, who returned to the field this season while he successfully battles leukemia. Granatowicz, a sophomore from Firth, Neb., was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in September 2012.
» A week after Chadron State set the school record for most passing yards in a game (600), the Eagles rushed for the most yards in school history (495) in a 43-13 victory at Black Hills State. Chadron State (5-2) has accumulated over 700 yards of total offense in two straight games.
Glen Clinton rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns Saturday. He’s the second player in Chadron history to amass more than 5,000 all-purpose yards.
» Concordia coach Vance Winter said no one is hanging their heads after Saturday’s 30-28 loss to Northwestern, which dropped the Bulldogs to 6-1, 4-1 in the GPAC.
The Bulldogs host rival Doane (3-3, 3-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday
“They’re a good football team,” Winter said. “They’re very talented. I expect another four-quarter battle.”
Zach leads Flames
The College of St. Mary soccer team (12-2-1) is off to its best start since 2005, and junior Abby Zach is one of the reasons why.
She leads the MCAC with 18 goals. Goalkeeper Ashley Wohlers is 7-0-1.
“Abby has made a commitment to become one of the best soccer players that have played at CSM,” coach Shad Beam said. “She has become a team leader on the soccer pitch and in the classroom.”
The Flames will be tested at noon Saturday at Heritage Park when MCAC leader Oklahoma Wesleyan visits.
» Goalkeeper Kelsey Stark has set the school record for wins at Doane College.
The senior from Gretna is 39-22-3 for her career. She has a 1.62 goals against average, which also ranks first in the program’s history. She’s second with 17 shutouts.
The Tigers (6-8, 3-4 GPAC) will host Hastings (9-4-1, 5-1) at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Amanda Olson, a senior from Lincoln East, picked up her second hat trick of the season in Hastings’ 7-2 win over Dordt on Saturday.
» The UNK soccer team (6-8-2, 3-4-2) stayed alive for a spot in the eight-team MIAA tournament with its 2-0 victory over Missouri Western on Sunday.
“This was a good weekend for us and keeps our postseason hopes alive. It gives us momentum going into our final two matches,” UNK coach John Maessner said.
On Friday, the Lopers tied Northwest Missouri State 1-1 in two overtimes. Sophomore Montanna Hosterman (Papillion-La Vista South) tallied her team-leading fifth goal.