Wabash’s late TDs stop Bears’ attempt at upset
The Washington University football team held the nation’s best offense in check for much of the game, but could not recover from two late touchdowns by No. 11 Wabash College.
The Bears ultimately lost to the Little Giants, who entered the game leading the country in offensive production (50.8 ppg), 31-12 on Saturday, Oct. 10.
“The whole game, the whole mindset…was not that ‘we’re in this game.’ It was, ‘We’re going to win this game,’” senior co-captain Andrew Berryman said. “That was felt throughout the team.”
Little Giants senior quarterback Matt Hudson went 32 of 45, throwing for 335 yards with three touchdowns.
“We knew it was going to take an almost error-free game to go in and beat them, because we knew they were good, but we knew they were beatable,” Berryman said. We kind of showed that yesterday.”
Junior Stephen Sherman had his own career day for Wash. U. at the quarterback position, throwing for 218 yards, but the Bears offense was outmatched in total offensive yards, 272-478.
Both teams were held scoreless in the first quarter, while a 42-yard pass from Sherman to senior Matt Mangini put the team at the Wabash 29-yard line.
In great position to take the lead with less than five minutes left in the quarter, senior halfback Greg LaChaud fumbled the ball on the very next play, giving Wabash possession.
“We have put in some new plays during the course of the year, and one of time’s tests of things in football is that when you put a new play in, you’ve got to run it a thousand times before you put it in on the field. We didn’t necessarily do that,” head coach Larry Kindbom said. “That fumble was more of a result of not working on that play enough times over the course of the year.”
On the following series, Wabash turned to freshman running back Nathan Walters who capped a 70-yard, 5:04 drive with a 1-yard touchdown.
Wash. U. finally broke into the score column late into the second quarter. Senior defensive back Tim Olivos capitalized on a Little Giants fumble, returning it 59 yards to the Wabash 5-yard line. Berryman forced the fumble. Sophomore kicker Brandon Rogalski scored two minutes later on a fake field goal, but his extra-point kick was blocked.
The Little Giants responded with a nine-play, 55-yard drive resulting in a field goal, taking a 10-6 lead into the half.
Hudson’s 29-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Brady Young extended the score to 17-6 with 5:51 left in the third quarter, but the Bears answered on the ensuing series.
“There’s no doubt Wabash is an incredible team,” junior receiver Tom Gulyas said. “We definitely knew we needed to sustain a drive and get a touchdown…Obviously to even up on the scoreboard and also to give our defense a rest, because [Wabash] has so many offensive weapons.”
Sherman’s 73-yard pass to Gulyas ended the three-play touchdown drive, but a two-point conversion attempt failed.
The Little Giants came right back with another touchdown at the hands of Hudson, extending their lead to 24-12. Junior safety Jake Martin ended Wash. U.’s chance for a response, intercepting Sherman’s pass on the following series.
A 14-yard touchdown pass from Hudson to junior receiver Wes Chemblee pushed the score to 31-12 with 11 minutes left in the game.
With the loss, Wash. U. drops to 2-3 for the season. The season continues at Francis Field on Saturday, Oct. 17, against Wooster College (3-2). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
“[Our defensive performance] gives us a lot of confidence from here on out, to know that we can hang with one of the top 10 teams in the nation,” Berryman said, “So that gives us confidence going into the next few games against Wooster and then heading into conference play that we can go out and dominate all these offenses, because we’re not going to face another offense this good.”