St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 12, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team claimed a share of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) title and gained the league's automatic bid with a 43-34 win at the University of Chicago Saturday. In addition, WashU kept possession of the Founders Cup.
WashU improved to 8-2 and 7-1 in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), while Chicago ended its season with a 4-6 mark and 4-4 in the SAA.
WashU and Berry College tied for the SAA title, but the Bears claimed the SAA automatic bid in its final season in the conference by virtue of a head-to-head win vs. Berry on Oct. 1 in St. Louis.
"It was a great victory for the WashU football program, and its awesome that 50 of our former players were at the game," said WashU head coach Larry Kindbom. "It's a goal every year to play an 11th game. Any time you reach a goal its exciting. They earned it."
Senior quarterback J.J. Tomlin completed 26-of-36 for 483 yards and tied a school record with six touchdowns. WashU recorded 562 yards of total offense in the win.
Senior tight end Matt Page had a career-high nine receptions for 191 yards and two touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund added eight catches for 166 yards and three TDs. Junior wide receiver Marcus Ramspott had seven receptions for 105 yards and a TD.
Page had a pair of touchdown receptions – a 14-yarder in the first and a 58-yarder in the second – as WashU jumped out in front 14-7. Chicago tallied a score midway through the second as the teams went to half tied at 14-14.
Ramspott hauled in a 52-yard TD pass from Tomlin to knot the score at 21-21 with 6:04 left in the third quarter, and then Hammarlund caught a 4-yard TD to once again tie the score at 28-28.
Hammarlund scored again and then hauled in a two-point conversion to give WashU the lead for good (36-28) with 14:54 to play. Chicago answered right back with a TD of its own, but Chicago QB Burke Moser's pass was incomplete and kept it a two-point game (36-34).
Tomlin gave the Bears a nine-point advantage after tossing his sixth TD, a 30-yard completion to make it 43-34 with 9:31 to play. WashU outscored Chicago 15-6 in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore defensive back Ben Marcus sealed the victory with his team-leading fourth interception of the season with 1:25 to play.
Marcus had 15 tackles, two interceptions and a half tackle for loss to lead the WashU defense. Sophomore linebacker Jake Coon added 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, an interception and a sack. Coon upped his team-leading tackle total to 100. Junior defensive backs Nate Lowis and Andrew Ralph added 10 tackles apiece.
Chicago ran 123 offensive plays and had a 39:53-20:07 advantage in time of possession. The Maroons totaled 604 yards of total offense, including 455 through the air.
"I am just glad we are competing in each game," Kindbom added. "We are looking forward to what our fate will be."
The 2016 NCAA Division III Football Selection Show is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m. (CT). The Bears are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013 and third in school history.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU has won five of the last six meetings with Chicago and leads the all-time series 23-12 … The eight wins are the second most in a single season … The Bears have won five-straight road games for the first time since 2005 … The SAA title for WashU is its first in school history … WashU also secured a share of the 2016 University Athletic Association (UAA) title, its 12th in school history history … Hammarlund set the WashU single-season receiving yardage record (1,249) and went over 100 yards for the seventh-straight game … WashU has outscored its opponents 108-61 in the third quarter.