St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 1, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis defense limited Berry College to a season-low point total and recorded three interceptions in a 34-10 win in Southern Athletic Association (SAA) play Saturday night at Francis Field in St. Louis.
WashU scored 17 points in the final 6:16 to knock Berry from the unbeaten ranks in NCAA Division III. The Vikings entered the contest averaging 40.3 points per game.
WashU improved its overall record to 3-1, 2-1 in the SAA, while Berry suffered its first loss of the season and dropped to 4-1, 2-1 in the SAA.
"It was a great effort by our team. We feel like we are getting better each week," said WashU head coach Larry Kindbom. "The defensive staff did a great job getting those guys ready. That was a great team effort."
Senior quarterback J.J. Tomlin completed 35-of-48 passes for 389 yards and two touchdowns. Tomlin upped his career passing total to 6,657 yards, and is 57 yards shy of breaking the WashU all-time mark.
The Bears started quickly on offense with a 19-play, 83-yard drive that resulted in a three-yard touchdown pass from Tomlin to senior tight end Matt Page. After allowing its only points off the half on a field goal, junior Dan Kalvaitis booted a 33-yard field with 52 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 10-3.
Tomlin connected with senior running back Austin Smestad on a play action that resulted in a 25-yard TD to make it 17-3. WashU's defense forced three punts and blocked a field goal to end the half.
Tomlin was 19-of-28 for 244 yards and two TDs in the first half. The Bears were 7-of-10 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth down.
WashU limited Berry to 72 yards on 19 plays in the third quarter, and forced a pair of punts. Sophomore defensive back Ben Marcus forced a fumble in the third quarter after a Berry punt that junior defensive back Brian Crowe corralled at the seven-yard line. The Bears did not score after a Tomlin interception.
With the Bears leading by double figures early in the fourth quarter, Slade Dale scrambled on a fourth down and found Terrell Blakesleay wide open for a 32 yard pass on fourth down to trim the lead to 17-10.
Kalvaitis connected from a career-best 41-yarder to put WashU up 20-10 with 6:16 remaining in the contest.
Sophomore linebacker Jake Coon intercepted Dale and returned it to the WashU 23-yard line. Smestad punched it in from two yards out to push the lead to 27-10. On the ensuing play, junior defensive back Andrew Ralph stepped in front of the receiver and took it 35 yards for the TD to round out the scoring.
Sophomore linebacker Max Barnett had 13 tackles to lead the WashU defense, while senior defensive lineman Josiah Situmeang was also over the field with seven tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one breakup.
Freshman punter Johnny Davidson punted three times for an average of 42.7 yards per punt. As a team, WashU had a 44.3 net yards per punt.
WashU hits the road for an SAA contest at Rhodes College (3-1, 1-1 SAA). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Memphis.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: Berry and WashU have split four all-time meetings … Kindbom is three wins shy of 200 for his career … Hammarlund became the fifth player in school history with 2,000 receiving yards … WashU is 15-2 (.882) at Francis Field in the past four seasons … Tomlin set the WashU school record in career passing attempts (943) … The Bears are 3-1 for the first time since 2008.