St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 17, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team had its nine-game home winning streak snapped with a 39-28 loss to Centre College in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) opener for both teams Saturday at Francis Field in St. Louis.
Centre improved to 3-0 with the win, while WashU dropped to 1-1. It was the Bears first loss at home since a 31-24 defeat to Ohio Northern on Sept. 6, 2014.
Centre totaled 641 yards of total offense in the win, including 298 on the ground. Nolan Coulter ran for 223 yards on 34 carries and two TDs. The Colonels had a 38:00-22:00 advantage in time of possession and recorded 37 first downs.
The Colonels struck first on the opening possession, but WashU responded with an eight-play, 67-yard drive after senior quarterback J.J. Tomlin connected with junior wide receiver Harding Fears for a 29-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7.
After a pair of stops by the WashU defense, Tomlin hit senior tight end Matt Page across the middle for a 14-yard TD to make it 14-7. Tomlin was 8-of-15 for 115 yards and two TDs in the first quarter.
WashU was outscored 20-0 in the second quarter as the offense managed just 24 yards of offense on 24 plays. Centre scored on all three of its possessions in the quarter.
Centre had a 361-161 advantage in total offense in the opening half. Coulter led the way with 158 rushing yards on 21 carries and two TDs.
WashU drove down the field on its opening possession of the third quarter, going eight plays for 81 yards for its third score of the game. Tomlin connected with sophomore wide receiver DeAndre Wilson for an 11-yard TD to trim the lead to 27-21.
Centre added a TD early in the fourth quarter, and then senior running back Austin Smestad scored from 34 yards out to trim the lead to 36-28. Ben Logsdon drilled his fourth field goal of the game with 4:50 to play to round out the scoring.
Tomlin was 37-of-71 for 401 yards and three touchdowns, but was picked off three times. The 71 pass attempts shattered the school and SAA record, and is the second most in all of NCAA this season.
Page went over the 100-yard mark for the second-straight game with nine catches for 133 yards and a TD, while Smestad ran the ball 10 times for 66 yards and a TD. WashU totaled 476 yards of total offense (401-passing; 75-rushing) in the loss and turned the ball over four times.
Junior defensive back Nick Doctors posted a career-high 15 tackles (12 solo) for the WashU defense, who was on the field for 109 plays. Sophomore linebacker Max Barnett (14 tackles), sophomore defensive back Ben Marcus (13 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, interception) and sophomore linebacker Jake Coon (12 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, interception) also recorded double-digit tackles in the defeat.
WashU continues SAA play on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Birmingham Southern College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at General Charles C. Krulak Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU and Centre have split 21 all-time meetings (10-10-1) … Tomlin went over 6,000 passing yards for his career … Senior wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund moved into sixth place in school history with 1,901 receiving yards … Sophomore defensive back Brian Crowe recorded the first interception of his career in the third quarter … Junior defensive lineman Nick Leduc had three tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.