St. Louis, Mo., November 16, 2013 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team claimed the outright University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship and retained possession of the Founders Cup with a 17-7 victory at home against the University of Chicago Saturday afternoon at Francis Field in St. Louis.
Washington U. picks up its seventh-straight win and concludes regular-season play with an 8-2 mark, including 3-0 in the UAA. Chicago ends the 2013 season with a 6-4 record, 1-2 in the UAA. The UAA title for the Bears is their second-straight and 10th in school history.
Washington U.'s defense was superb for the fourth-straight game – forcing four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) and three punts in the win. The Bears allowed 228 yards of total offense in the win (69 rushing, 159 passing). Senior defensive lineman Nelson Nwumeh tied his career-high with 10 tackles, two tackles and a pass break-up in the win. The Bears' defense allowed 14 points (3.5 ppg) and 827 yards of total offense (206.75 ypg) in the final four games of the season.
A costly running into the kicker by Chicago midway through first quarter led to the first score of the game. On 4th-and-23, sophomore punter Alec Stanke was taken down on a punt that allowed the Bears to get into Chicago territory. Seven plays later, senior quarterback Eric Daginella scored from a yard out to make 7-0.
With the Washington U. defense continuing to pitch the shutout, the Bears took advantage of another huge play on special teams. On 4th-and-10 at the Chicago 45-yard line, senior wide receiver John O'Connor completed a 20-yard fake punt pass to sophomore running back Cody Ratermann to keep the drive alive. Sophomore kicker Alex Hallwachs connected on a 32-yard field goal with 3:34 to play before half to make it 10-0.
Washington U. had a 245-93 advantage in total offense in the first half, and limited Chicago to just five first downs. Daginella was 12-for-20 for 125 yards in the first half, as the Bears threw for 145 yards in the opening half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Chicago cut the lead to 10-7 after a four-yard touchdown run by Zak Ross-Nash with 14:17 to play. The Bears sealed the victory after Daginella found freshman wide receiver Hank Childs open in the end zone for a 10-yard TD to make it 17-7.
Daginella finished the day 18-of-32 for 178 yards but was sacked a season-high four times. Ratermann led the rushing attack with 66 yards on 16 carries, while Daginella (43 yards) and freshman Austin Smestad(39 yards) also chipped in. Senior H-back Colin Webb had a career-high four catches for 50 yards.
Prior to Saturday's contest against Chicago, Washington U. honored its 18 senior members who played their final home game at Francis Field. This year's senior class holds an overall record of 26-14 (.650) and won a pair of UAA title (2012, 2013).
Washington University is a candidate for one of three Pool B selections, attempting to make its second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history (1999). The 2013 NCAA Division III Football Selection Show will be streamed live on www.ncaa.com Sunday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m. (CT).
Bear Notebook: The eight wins are the second most in school history, and the first eight-win season since 2001 … Washington U. ended the season with seven-straight wins, its first regular-season seven-game win streak since 1948 … The Bears are 20-6 (.769) in the month of November since 2000 … Washington U. leads the all-time series with Chicago, 21-11 … The Bears have won 20 of 27 Founders Cup meetings.