WashU Pitches Shutout on Road at Illinois Wesleyan

Photo by Linda Clement-Holmes
Photo by Linda Clement-Holmes

Bloomington, Ill., Oct. 26, 2019 – Junior running back Emmanuel Ebirim ran for a career-high 102 yards and a TD as the Washington University in St. Louis football team posted a 21-0 road victory at Illinois Wesleyan Saturday in Bloomington, Ill.

The shutout for WashU was its first since Nov. 9, 2013 – a 29-0 win over Case.

Rain fell throughout the entire game and temperatures dipped into the 30s with the wind chill. The teams combined for 319 yards of total offense and 20 punts.

 "Illinois Wesleyan is a good team and this is a good rivalry. They are always the best coached team we play," said WashU head coach Larry Kindbom. "Our defense has played pretty well all year long. We ran into a buzz saw last week and lost a little bit of our mojo but we bounced back."

WashU improved to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) with the win, while Illinois Wesleyan had its four-game win streak and fell to 4-3 and 4-2 in the CCIW. WashU and IWU are both tied for third place in the conference standings.

WashU limited Illinois Wesleyan to 161 yards of total offense, and forced six turnovers (two fumbles, four interceptions). 

Sophomore linebacker John Christensen led the defensive effort with a career-high 16 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a sack and his first career interception.

WashU limited IWU to seven yards with a pair of three and outs on its first two possessions. The offense took advantage of great field position and Ebirim scored from four yards out to give WashU the early 7-0 lead.

Senior defensive lineman Jeff Gurley hopped on a fumble by the Titans, and then three plays later senior quarterback Johnny Davidson scored from six yards out to make it 14-0 with 1:05 left in the first. IWU was limited to 12 yards on 12 plays in the opening quarter.

Davidson connected with sophomore wide receiver Jared Harrison for a 28-yard yard TD with 13:54 left in the second to make it 21-0. 

IWU punted on all six of its possessions in the opening half, and had just 46 yards of total offense and two first downs.

Ebirim ran the ball for 63 yards on 10 carries and a TD as WashU was limited to 125 yards of total offense. Christensen had nine tackles to lead the defense.

Special Teams played a huge role in the win as the Bears limited Illinois Wesleyan to an average starting position of the 19-yard line. Davidson averaged 37.9 yards on 10 punts, which included a season-long of 59 and four inside the 20. 

WashU returns home to host Augustana College (Ill.) on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. as part of Parent and Family Weekend.

BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with Illinois Wesleyan 10-9 in a series that dates back to 1899 … Kindbom(218) and IWU's Norm Eash (212) both rank in the top-10 in NCAA Division III wins by an active head coach … The win for Kindbom was the 190th of his career at WashU.