St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 10, 2015 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team forced six turnovers and limited Rhodes College scoreless for the first three quarters in a 37-7 victory Saturday night in front of 2,003 fans at Francis Field in St. Louis.
WashU improved to 3-2, 2-2 in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) with the win, while Rhodes fell to 3-2, 1-2 in the SAA.
"We felt like we have been on an upward graph with our defense over the last five weeks," said WashU head football coach Larry Kindbom. "More importantly, we played physical and got to the football. That helped create the turnovers."
The Bears limited Rhodes to a season-low 181 yards of offense, including eight yards rushing on 24 carries. WashU forced two fumbles and had a season-high four interceptions in the win.
Senior Alex Hallwachs booted a 47-yard field goal on the Bears' second possession to give WashU the early 3-0 lead. Junior running back Austin Smestad had the key play of the drive, a nine-yard run on 4th-and-1 on its own 41-yard line.
After WashU's defense forced its third punt of the opening quarter, freshman Jamar McDonald scampered 27-yards to push the advantage to 10-0. On the ensuing possession, sophomore defensive back Nate Lowis picked off Rhodes QB Austin Henyon and then Hallwachs booted a 38-yard field goal to make it 13-0.
Junior quarterback J.J. Tomlin tossed a pair of TDs in the second quarter to push the advantage to 27-0. He found senior running back Cody Ratermann for a 21-yard touchdown on a screen pass, and then found junior wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund wide open in the corner for a 14-yard TD.
WashU's defense allowed 68 yards of total offense in the first half, forcing four punts and two interceptions. Tomlin was 25-of-33 for 232 yards with two TDs as WashU totaled 305 yards of total offense.
Tomlin orchestrated a nine-play, 79-yard drive, to open the third quarter. He found senior tight end Max Elliott open for a six-yard TD to make it 34-0.
Hallwachs tied a school and SAA record with a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 37-0. He finished the day 3-of-7 on field goals, and also connected on four extra points to set the WashU all-time record with 72 in his career.
Tomlin completed 33-of-45 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns, as he moved into sixth place on the WashU all-time passing yardage list with 3,551 career yards.
McDonald ran for a career-high 87 yards on 13 carries as WashU totaled 529 yards of total offense. Hammarlund had seven catches for 82 yards and a TD, while Elliott added six catches for 46 yards and a TD.
"I am excited about our offense," added Kindbom. "The guys had a great week of practice and brought it back to where it needed to be."
Junior defensive lineman Josiah Situmeang (five tackles, one tackle for loss) and senior defensive back Quincy Marting (five tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, forced fumble) led the defensive unit. Freshman linebacker Jake Coon added three tackles, one tackle for loss, a sack and an interception in the win.
WashU improved to 3-0 at home this season, and has won 13 of its last 14 games at Francis Field dating back to 2012. The Bears are averaging 41 points and 539 yards of total offense per game this season at home.
WashU returns to action with a road game at Sewanee: University of the South (1-4, 0-3 SAA) on Saturday, Oct. 17. Game time is set for 1 p.m. in Sewanee, Tenn.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: Rhodes and WashU met for the 52nd time in school history, with the Lynx holding a 26-25-1 advantage in the all-time series … The home team has won the last 13 meetings in the series … The Bears attempted seven field goals against Rhodes, second most in a single game in NCAA Division III history.