SAINT LOUIS, Mo. - The Coe College football team jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first half and held on for a 20-14 victory over Washington University Saturday. It was the non-conference finale for Coe, as they are now 3-0.
The Kohawk offense made things look easy on the opening drive of the game, as they moved the ball 75 yards on just eight plays in 3:35 for the opening score. Coe faced just one third down on the drive, as they converted the third-and-one situation. On the first play of the game, senior Jared McNutt (Warren, Ill./Warren) completed a 35-yard pass to seniorJared Kuehner (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana). On second-and-two from the Washington University 22-yard line, senior Brendan Leiran (Waukon, Iowa/Waukon) took over. In his first action of the year, Leiran rushed for gains of seven and eight before going up the middle for a seven-yard touchdown with 11:25 left in the first quarter.
After a pair of punts from both teams, the Kohawks came up with the first big defensive play of the game. On first-and-10 from the Coe 12-yard line, senior Bryce Sampson (Roland, Iowa/Roland-Story) intercepted Dan Burkett's pass in the end zone. Coe wasn't able to capitalize, as they punted four-plays later.
Following the Kohawk punt, the Bears put together their first scoring drive of the game. An eight-play, 62-yard drive was punctuated by a six-yard touchdown run from Zach Lonnemann with :56 left in the first quarter, tying the game at seven apiece.
Two possessions later, the Kohawks regained the lead on a nine-play, 50-yard drive. With 8:12 to play in the first half, freshman Mark Atwater (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) plunged in from three-yards out, as Coe took a 13-7 lead after a missed point-after attempt. The Kohawk defense forced another three-and-out from the Bears, as Coe took over at its own 20-yard line.
On second down, Leiran rushed for 13-yards. The Kohawks moved into Bear territory with an 18-yard run fromJacob Workman (Chadwick, Ill./Milledgeville). McNutt found senior Chase Cooling (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier) for an 11-yard gain before Leiran moved the Kohawks to the 26-yard line on a 12-yard gain. A 20-yard pass from McNutt to Kuehner put the Kohawks inside the five-yard line where Atwater scored from three-yards out three plays later. The score, Atwater's second of the game, put Coe up 20-7 with 2:43 left in the first half.
Coe took the ball right back on the next offensive play as junior Antoine Allen-Jackson (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East) intercepted Burkett at the Bear 40-yard line. Coe wasn't able to score, but a punt by Cooling pushed the Bears back to their own 20-yard line. Washington University moved the ball to the Kohawk 47-yard line, but Burkett was intercepted for the third time in the half on the final play, as senior Demetreus Johnson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) came away with the pick at the 16-yard line.
On the first possession of the second half, Coe stuffed a fake punt from the Bears. After five punts between the two teams, Coe got its fourth interception of the game. This time around, it was Johnson intercepting C. Castelluccio on a halfback pass.
Both teams continued the exchange of punts to start the fourth quarter. On Coe's second punt of the quarter, the Kohawks were called for illegal formation. Coe then played the down over, but this time the Bears fumbled the return with Coe getting on top of the ball. Coe marched down to the three-yard line, where they attempted a 20-yard field goal that was blocked.
The Bears took the next drive 95 yards for a touchdown. On fourth-and-four from the Coe 26-yard line, the Kohawks were called for pass interference, giving the Bears life again. On the next play, Eric Daginella found T. Bartholomew for an 11-yard touchdown with :56 to play.
Coe recovered Washington University's onside kick attempt following the score. After back-to-back carries by Leiran, Coe was able to take a knee for the final play of the game.
The Kohawks outgained the Bears 383-350 in total offense, while holding a 196-96 edge on the ground. The Kohawks also held an advantage with the clock, as they held the ball for 36:20, compared to the Bears 23:40. Coe held the ball for over 10 minutes in the second and fourth quarters.
Leiran led the Kohawk ground attack with 130 yards on 26 carries, including a touchdown. Workman added 37 yards on 39 carries, while junior Gage Mohs (Fredericksburg, Iowa/Sumner-Fredericksburg) had 20 yards on four carries.
McNutt was 16-of-27 for 187 yards. Kuehner led the air attack with 91 yards on six receptions. Junior Keaton Juergens(Elkader, Iowa/Central Elkader) caught three passes for 31 yards, while senior Kris Hopkins (Keokuk, Iowa/Keokuk) caught two passes for 29 yards. Workman had two receptions for 13 yards.
Senior Zach West (Tiffin, Iowa/Clear Creek-Amana) led the defense with eight tackles, all solo. Sampson finished with seven tackles and an interception. Senior Nate Neuhaus (Manchester, Iowa/West Delaware) had four tackles, including two sacks. Johnson added four tackles and two interceptions.
The Kohawks will have next Saturday off before returning home to face Buena Vista on Sept. 29. The Homecoming game against the Beavers will be broadcast on KCRG 9.2 in Eastern Iowa, along with a live video feed and live stats on CoeAthletics.com.