Football Wins SAA Home Opener Over Birmingham-Southern

Football Wins SAA Home Opener Over Birmingham-Southern

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 26, 2015 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team scored on its first three possessions and won its Southern Athletic Association (SAA) home opener with a 41-13 win over Birmingham-Southern College Saturday at Francis Field in St. Louis.

WashU improved to 2-1, 1-1 in the SAA, while Birmingham-Southern fell to 3-1, 1-1 in the SAA.

Junior quarterback J.J. Tomlin was 22-of-34 for 365 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Tomlin has thrown for a conference-best 1,065 yards in three games, and moved into seventh place on the WashU top-10 all-time list with 2,969 career passing yards. 

Junior wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund had three catches for 111 yards and a TD in the win, and eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in his career. WashU totaled a season-high 576 yards of total offense, including 401 yards through the air.

"I was excited about how we came out of the locker room today ready to play," said WashU head coach Larry Kindbom, who picked up his 190th career victory. "This is the next step in a progression for our team."

Tomlin was a perfect 7-of-7 for 116 yards in the first two drives as WashU jumped out to a commanding 14-0 lead with 9:33 left in the first. Junior running back Austin Smestad scampered in from 20 yards on the opening drive, and then Tomlin found sophomore wide receiver Marcus Ramspott open for a 42-yard TD.

After a stop by the WashU defense, Tomlin went back to work on offense deep in his own territory. After back-to-back holding penalties, Tomlin connected for a 74-yard reception to Hammarlund getting WashU down to the BSC seven-yard line.

Tomlin tossed his second TD of the quarter, a nine-yard strike to freshman wide receiver Matthew Goldberg, to make it 21-0. He was 9-of-11 for 199 yards in the opening quarter, as WashU totaled 244 yards.

Tomlin found Hammarlund wide open across the middle for a 28-yard TD midway through the second quarter to push the lead to 28-7. WashU had 392 yards of offense in the first half as Tomlin was 16-of-27 for 305 yards and three TDs.

WashU limited Birmingham-Southern to 142 yards of total offense and just six points in the second half. The Panthers scored on just one of four possessions, and the Bears forced two punts.

"Its not about points, its about making plays," Kindbom added. "Our kids are making more plays, and its fun to see them play with some confidence."

Ramspott added a 13-yard TD reception late in the third quarter to push the lead to 34-7. Senior running back Cody Ratermann rounded out the scoring with a one-yard plunge with 4:30 remaining in the fourth.

Smestad ran for 65 yards on seven carries and a TD, while freshman Jamar McDonald rushed six times for a career-high 50 yards. The Bears gained a season-high 175 yards on the ground in the win.

Birmingham-Southern had a 37:32-22:28 advantage in time of possession, but was limited to 344 yards of total offense.

Junior defensive lineman Josiah Situmeang made a career-high seven tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, while junior linebacker Billy Cramsie had seven stops. Senior linebacker Matt Goad chipped in with six tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, while senior defensive lineman Brian Douglas had a season-high six tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

WashU returns to action with a road game at Berry College (3-1, 2-0 SAA). Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (ET) in Mount Berry, Ga., as part of Berry College Mountain Day.

BEAR NOTEBOOK: This was the first meeting in school history between WashU and Birmingham-Southern … WashU has won of 12 of its last 13 home games … The Bears have yet to allow a sack in three games … Coaches for both teams wore patches as part of the Coach to Cure MD program.