Pittsburgh, Pa. Sept. 3, 2016 – Washington University in St. Louis battled back from a 21-point first quarter deficit for a 41-34 overtime victory at Carnegie Mellon University Saturday at Gesling Stadium in Pittsburgh.
Senior quarterback J.J. Tomlin led the Bears on a 13-play, 70-yard drive with less than two minutes to tie the game. He connected with senior wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to make it 34-32. Tomlin then hit senior tight end Matt Page across the middle for the two-point conversion to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Page caught a 29-yard touchdown pass across the middle to make it 41-34. Sophomore linebacker Jake Coon then stopped CMU All-American running back Sam Benger on 4th and 2 from the WashU three-yard line to end the game.
Tomlin was 35-of-61 for 371 yards and four touchdowns, while Page finished the day with eight catches for 150 yards and two TDs. He was making his first career start at tight end after being converted from a quarterback. Hammarlund added 10 catches for 119 yards and two TDs, while sophomore running back Logan Bash also had a career day with 117 yards and a TD.
Trailing 21-0 in the first quarter, junior Dan Kalvaitis got WashU on the scoreboard with a 21-yard field goal with 11:54 left in the second. After WashU's defense forced its first turnover off the game, Tomlin tossed a 40-yard TD pass to Hammarlund to make it 21-10.
An interception by senior Nate Lowis resulted in a Kalvaitis 20-yard field goal with 1:19 left made it 21-13 at half. Carnegie Mellon had a 301-223 advantage in total offense in the first half. Tomlin was 15-of-28 for 180 yards and a TD.
Bash scampered 78 yards on the second play of the third quarter pulling the Bears within one at 21-20. After holding Carnegie Mellon to a field goal, Tomlin connected with Page for a 21-yard touchdown pass across the middle to give WashU its first lead at 26-24. Kalvaitis missed the extra point to keep it a two-point game.
Carnegie Mellon (0-1) grabbed the lead at 34-26 after a two-yard TD run by Benger and a 22-yard field by Gabe Renna with 3:35 to play. Benger, who led Division III in rushing a year ago, ran for 251 yards and three touchdowns as the Tartans totaled 573 yards of total offense.
Junior defensive back Andrew Ralph made a career-high 13 tackles, while Coon was all over the field with a career-high 13 stops, two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Sophomore defensive back Ben Marcus added a career-high 11 tackles.
WashU (1-0) will have a bye week before returning to action Saturday, Sept. 17, against Centre College in its home opener. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Francis Field.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with Carnegie Mellon, 18-16, and the Bears have won 14 of the last 18 meetings … The interception for Lowis was the third of his career, while senior Dylan Newcomb recorded his first interception … WashU is 2-9 in road games the past three seasons … The Bears are 20-8 in season openers under head coach Larry Kindbom … Carnegie Mellon had its seven-game win streak snapped dating back to last season ... Kindbom is 3-5 all-time in overtime games in his 28-year career at WashU … The 61 pass attempts by Tomlin was a single-game school record … WashU totaled 511 yards of total offense and was 3-for-3 on fourth down.