St. Louis, Mo., November 12, 2011 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team piled up a season-high 490 yards of total offense in the Bears' 38-20 victory the University of the Chicago in the season finale for both teams on Saturday afternoon at Francis Field in St. Louis, Mo.
With the win Washington U. regained possession of the Founders Cup, which commemorates the first football game played between two University Athletic Association (UAA) schools. Washington U. and the University of Chicago were meeting for the 30th time in school history, with the Bears holding a 19-11 edge. Washington U. also leads the all-time series in the Founders Cup, 18-7.
Junior quarterback Dan Burkett threw for a career-high 316 yards and four touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing, while his favorite target was senior Easton Knott, who hauled in five catches for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Knott closes out his career with 63 catches for 1,023 yards and 13 touchdowns. Junior Chris Castelluccio was the other bright spot on offense for the Bears, rushing for a career-best 137 yards on 23 carries.
Knott's 20-yard crossing route for a touchdown from Burkett gave Washington U. an early 7-0 advantage with 9:31 left in the first quarter. A great block from senior Brennan Fox allowed Knott to scamper into the end zone unscathed. Washington U. had 154 yards of total offense in the first quarter, and the defense forced four punts and limited Chicago to 0-for-4 on fourth down.
The Bears took advantage of a fumble by the Maroons inside their own 20-yard line, to extend the lead to 10-0 following a 22-yard field goal by junior Eric Chalifour.
Chicago's offense was held at stake for the opening 18 minutes of the first half, but a fake punt by the Maroons midway through the second quarter gave Chicago some life. UC punter Jeff Sauer completed a 19-yard pass on fourth down to get the ball into WU territory, and then Chicago quarterback Vincent Cortina found Keigan Cisneros for eight yards on 4th-and-5 to get the ball to the 38-yard line.
Three plays later, Cortina found tight end Tom Meckelberg for a 29-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 10-6. The snap on the extra point was botched to keep it a four-point spread. The Bears offense responded with an 11-play, 70-yard drive, as Knott hauled in his second 20-yard TD reception from Burkett to push the lead to 17-6. The key play of the drive was a 59-yard run by Castelluccio.
Chicago (5-5, 0-3 UAA) drove 62 yards on six plays in the final 53 seconds of the second quarter to score a touchdown as time expired. Zak Ross-Nash scampered in from two yards to make it 17-13 at half. The Bears stopped Chicago on the final play of the half, but senior Liam Morrissey was called for pass interference.
Washington U. had a 282-194 advantage in total offense in the opening half, and Burkett completed 12-of-22 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Austin Morman hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Burkett early in the third quarter to push the lead to 24-13, and then Burkett found Fox across the middle for another score to make it 31-13. Freshman Ryan Bednar had his team-leading third interception in the end zone, which got the ball back to set up Fox's touchdown. Senior Clay Reed added a three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring for the Bears.
Senior linebackers Nick Hillard and Ed Ferguson led the defensive unit with 10 tackles apiece. Ferguson added 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and pass break-up. Prior to the contest, Washington U. honored its 25 seniors who played their final game at Francis Field. The Class of 2012 recorded an overall record of 22-18 (.550), including a 7-3 mark in 2010.
Bear Notebook: Senior Joe Rhein made his 40th-consecutive start at center … Since 2000, the Bears are 15-6 in the month of November … Washington U. had a season-high 11 pass break-ups in the win.