Football Falls to No. 21 Wittenberg, 20-17, in Battle of Unbeatens
St. Louis, Mo., September 17, 2011 – No. 21 ranked Wittenberg University extended its regular-season winning streak to 23 games with a 20-17 victory at Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon at Francis Field in St. Louis, Mo.
Wittenberg (3-0) broke open a 10-10 game with 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to snap the Bears’ seven-game home winning streak dating back to the 2009 season.
Sean Williams booted a 22-yard field goal with 14:18 remaining in the fourth quarter giving Wittenberg the 13-10 lead. The Bears drove into Wittenberg territory on the ensuing possession, but the Tiger defense stopped the Bears on 4th-and-1.
Wittenberg took advantage of great field position, and tacked on a touchdown with 6:28 to play following a five-yard TD pass from quarterback Reed Florence to Brendon Cunningham pushing the lead to 20-10. The big play of the drive was a 22-yard pass from Ben Zoeller to Josh McKee on 3rd-and-21 at the Washington U. 29-yard line.
The Bears would not go away, as junior quarterback Dan Burkett connected with senior Easton Knott on 4th-and-5 for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-17 with 4:13 to play. Washington U.’s defense forced on a turnover on downs on its five-yard line with eight seconds to play, but WUSTL’s screen pass to junior Chris Castelluccio was downed at the 31-yard line after five laterals.
The Bears outgained Wittenberg 298-251 in total offense, and limited the Tigers to 103 yards on the ground. Senior Nick Hillard led the defensive unit with 10 tackles, while sophomore Tate Byers added nine tackles and two pass break-ups.
Burkett finished the day 10-of-18 for 130 yards and a two touchdowns, while junior quarterback Adam Banks was 7-of-14 for 60 yards. Sophomore John Hagemann led the rushing attack with eight carries for 62 yards, while Castelluccio had 44 yards on 13 carries.
An unsuccessful fake punt by Washington U. led to the first score of the game for Wittenberg. The Tigers took advantage of great field position on the WU-30 yard line, and then got on the scoreboard following a 28-yard field goal by Williams.
Wittenberg took advantage of another Washington U. mistake, this time following an interception by Burkett. The Tigers responded with a 13-play, 62-yard drive that took up 6:56, highlighted by a four-yard TD pass from Florence to Michael Cooper.
Washington U. responded with a 13-play, 67-yard drive with Banks under center. Banks drove the Bears all the way down to the Wittenberg three-yard line, but could only muster a 20-yard field goal by junior Eric Chalifour following a defense stop by the Tigers. Wittenberg’s Desi Kirkman fumbled the ensuing kickoff giving Washington U. the ball at the Tiger 28-yard line, but Karlos Marshall picked off Banks on the first play of the drive.
The Bears defense slowed down the Wittenberg offense in the first half, allowing just 113 yards on 32 total plays. Washington U. picked up 136 yards (94 passing, 42 rushing) of total offense in the first half.
WUSTL’s defense picked up where it left off in the first half, forcing a punt on Wittenberg’s opening possession of the third quarter. The Bears’ offense responded with a seven-play, 61-yard drive with Burkett back at quarterback, and he capped the drive with a 11-yard TD pass to senior tight end Brennan Fox. Burkett scrambled around in the pocket before sending a pass into the end zone that Fox dove for and hauled in.
Washington University (2-1) returns to the field at North Park University on Saturday, Sept. 24. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Chicago, Ill. Washington U. and North Park will be meeting for the first time in school history.
Bear Notebook: Wittenberg leads the all-time series with Washington U., 3-1, and has won the last three meetings … The Bears were 5-of-13 on third down and 1-of-4 on fourth down in the defeat … The Tigers had a 32:35-27:25 time of possession advantage, and ran nine more plays (70-61) than Washington U … Wittenberg came into the contest averaging 39.5 points per game and 493.0 yards of total offense.