Pittsburgh, Pa., November 2, 2013 – Sophomore Alex Hallwachs booted a season-long 45-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining as the Washington University in St. Louis football team rallied for a 9-7 win at Carnegie Mellon University in the University Athletic Association (UAA) opener for both teams Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Washington University improves to 6-2, 1-0 in the UAA, and picks up its fifth-straight win, while Carnegie Mellon drops to 3-5, 0-1 in the UAA. The victory secures a winning season for Washington U., its 20th in 25 years under head coach Larry Kindbom, and the win is the 500th in school history.
"We knew we had to get the ball close to the 30-yard line to have a shot. It was a great snap, hold and a great kick by Alex. It was great moment for Alex," said Washington U. head coach Larry Kindbom. "We felt like we played well today but could not finish the drives. All the way through it was just a matter of putting our team in position to succeed."
Hallwachs, who missed an extra point early in the first quarter, redeemed himself by kicking the second-longest field goal of his career. He is 4-of-8 this season, and has converted on his last three kicks.
Washington U.'s defense was phenomenal in the win allowing 208 yards of total offense (123 rushing, 85 passing) and forcing nine punts. The Bears limited Carnegie Mellon to 88 yards and forced four three-and-outs in the second half. Senior linebacker Peter Lowery (nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss) and senior defensive lineman Nelson Nwumeh (eight tackles, one tackle for loss, force fumble) led a defensive unit that recorded eight tackles for loss in the win.
"The defense played really well and did a great job of rallying to the football and making plays," Kindbom added. "Jim Ryan and his defensive staff did a great job preparing for this game."
Washington U. took advantage of an early turnover as CMU quarterback Rob Kalkstein was picked off by sophomore Quincy Marting on the second play of the game. The turnover resulted in great field position for WUSTL at the CMU 46-yard line. It took the Bears just six plays to punch it into the end zone following the turnover, as sophomore running back Cody Ratermannscored from 17 yards out to make it 6-0 with 11:42 left in the first quarter.
The Tartans put together their best drive of the half early in the second quarter, as CMU ran the ball nine-straight times to get the ball down to the WUSTL seven-yard line. Two plays later, Kalkstein found Bryce Pardoe open in the end zone for a seven-yard TD pass to make it 7-6 with 11:45 left in the first half.
Carnegie Mellon had a 120-118 advantage in total offense in the first half, as Ratermann was the lone bright spot of offense for Washington U. rushing for 40 yards on six carries. The Tartans picked up 96 rushing yards on 21 carries in the opening half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Washington U. had a prime opportunity to get the lead back after a costly special teams penalty by CMU. Sophomore punter Alec Stanke boomed a 56-yard punt that Troy Witt fumbled and Marting recovered on the CMU 20-yard line. With the Bears having success running the ball, WUSTL chose to pass three straight plays and senior quarterback Eric Daginella was sacked by Alex D'Angelo and lost possession as Ryan Jok recovered the fumble to halt the drive with 11:48 to play.
Daginella was replaced at quarterback by freshman J.J. Tomlin for a series in the fourth quarter, but came back in for the final three drives. He led the Bears down to the CMU 24-yard line with less than two minutes left, but freshman wide receiverZach Strittmatter fumbled with 1:17 to play.
Washington U.'s defense forced a three-and-out and used all three timeouts, and got one last possession from the 50-yard line after a nine-yard punt return by freshman Dylan Newcomb with 50 seconds remaining. On 4th-and-11 from the CMU 46-yard line, freshman wide receiver Hank Childs made a diving catch for a 17-yard reception to extend the drive. Daginella found Childs for his 10th reception of the game to the CMU 28-yard line to set up the game-winning kick.
Daginella was 17-of-34 for 123 yards and two interceptions, while Childs had a career-best 10 catches for 68 yards. Ratermann (11 carries, 58 yards) and freshman Austin Smestad (13 carries, 43 yards) led the ground attack for Washington U., which totaled 245 yards of total offense in the win.
Washington U. continues conference play at home against Case Western Reserve University on Saturday, Nov. 9. Kickoff is set for Noon (CT) at Francis Field. This will mark the first of two home games to end the regular season.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series with Carnegie Mellon, 16-15, and the Bears have won 12 of the last 15 meetings … The five-game win streak is the first since 2010 … Washington U. improves to 6-2 for the first time since 2010 … WUSTL had a 32:04-27:56 advantage in time of possession and held CMU to 4-of-13 on third down.