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Ward Breaks SAU Receiving Touchdown Record

(Photo courtesy of Sydnee Horstman)

Yemi Ward entered the 2023 season eleven receiving touchdowns shy of SAU’s career record. In a ten game season, this would be a lofty goal for any receiver. So much so that it wasn’t on Ward’s mind at all, until their October 28 game against St. Xavier.

“I wasn’t aware at all about the record. It wasn’t until after the St. Xavier game that people started bringing it up to me,” Ward described.

It was that afternoon in which Ward scored two touchdowns, giving him number ten and eleven on the season, tying the school record. In just eight games, Ward had reached the benchmark that he didn’t even know existed before the year started.

What started as a lofty, unacknowledged goal at the beginning of the year, quickly became much more manageable after the Bees’ season opener at Taylor University in Indiana. Ward had an incredible game, where with just five receptions, he was able to finish with 216 receiving yards and four touchdowns. 

Over the next three games, Ward scored four more touchdowns, setting his season total at eight before the halfway point of the season. Over the next three games however, Ward hit a dry spell, scoring just one touchdown, and putting his season total at nine heading into game number eight against St. Xavier.

Ward’s great game against St. Xavier put him in the driver’s seat to break the record with two games to go. Where some teams would look to send extra targets toward a receiver in Ward’s position, Ward said the preparation for Judson was the same as any other week.

“It was business as usual. We had three different receivers score, so that was special to be a part of some of those guys first ever touchdowns here,” Ward detailed.

With such a natural knack for the endzone, extra attention wasn’t needed. Needing just one touchdown to break the record, Ward turned in eleven receptions, 199 yards, and most importantly, 3 touchdowns to stand alone atop of St. Ambrose’s career receiving touchdown list.

“I feel like all the time, effort, and work that I have put in have been validated in a way. I would love to compliment this accomplishment with more team success, but I can say I did what I could to the best of my ability,” Ward expressed. 

Ward wrapped up his season with an incredible 14 receiving touchdowns in just 10 games, good for third in the nation, and winning him a first team all-conference selection.

The Judson game was not only a culmination of Ward’s past and present success on the football field, but also a chance to set up his future on the field. Before the Judson game, Ward met with representatives for the Indianapolis Colts who invited him to show his skills at Northwestern University’s Pro Day in front of NFL scouts and executives in March. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it,” Ward said. Over the coming months, Ward will be preparing to show out in Evanston, Illinois.

Ward has spent the past four years building his legacy as St. Ambrose’s most prolific touchdown receiver, capping his career off with an incredible 14 touchdown season, and a chance to prove himself to teams at the highest level.