Granville, Ohio, October 20, 2012 — Head football coach Larry Kindbom celebrated his 60th birthday in style as Washington University in St. Louis posted an 18-13 victory at Denison University on Saturday afternoon at Piper Stadium in Granville, Ohio.
Washington University picks up its second win of the year and improves its overall record to 2-5, while Denison drops its third-straight game and falls to 2-5.
Freshman kicker Alex Hallwachs booted a pair of field goals in the victory for Washington U. – a 45-yard yarder in the first quarter and a 36-yarder in the fourth quarter. Hallwachs is now 2-for-2 on the season after not attempting a field goal in the first six games of the season.
Junior quarterback Eric Daginella was superb in his third start of the season – connecting on 16-of-30 passes for a career-high 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Lubatkin(five catches, 62 yards, TD) and senior wide receiver Drew Sexton (five catches, 50 yards) were Daginella's top two threats throughout the game.
Washington U.'s defense allowed a season-low 13 points in the victory, and kept the Denison offense in check. The Big Red had a 327-264 advantage in total offense, but WUSTL's defense forced four punts and forced one key turnover. Junior linebackerPeter Lowery made a career-high 13 stops, while junior defensive back Tate Byers (eight tackles, one break-up) and senior defensive lineman William Small (six tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss) each made some big plays on defense.
Hallwachs gave Washington U. the 3-0 lead with a career-long 45-yard field goal with 0:52 seconds left in the first quarter. A costly roughing the kicker penalty by Denison allowed WUSTL to keep the drive alive, after senior punterEric Chalifour was knocked down after a 68-yard punt.
Washington U.'s defense forced a third-straight punt by Denison, and the offense responded with another score with 13:07 left in the second quarter. Daginella was chased out of the pocket before tossing a jump ball into the end zone that was hauled in by freshman tight end Mitch McMahon. The extra point by Hallwachs was blocked to keep the score at 9-0.
WUSTL forced a turnover on downs deep in their own territory on Denison's fourth possession, but junior defensive back Andrew Skalmanwas called for pass interference to keep the drive alive. Skalman made up for his mistake a few plays later as he picked off Denison QB Max Paulus in the end zone to halt the drive. The INT for Skalman was his conference-leading fourth of the season.
Denison's lone score of the half came with 3.6 seconds remaining after Matt Puracchio connected on a 21-yard field goal to make it 9-3 at halftime. Washington U. was limited to 108 yards of total offense in the first half and five first downs.
After spending just 9:58 on the field in the opening half, Washington U.'s offense drove 14 plays on 76 yards and took up 5:28 on the opening drive of the second half. Lubatkin capped the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Daginella on a bubble screen. The two-point conversion failed to keep the score 15-3 with 9:27 remaining.
Denison answered back with a touchdown of its own with 40 seconds left in the third quarter after Braden Layer took a deep pass down the sideline from Paulus to trim the lead to 15-10.
Washington U.'s offense answered back with another lengthy drive – this time a 10-play, 50-yard drive that took up 4:27. After a pair of third-down conversions, Hallwachs connected from 36 yards out to make it 18-10 with 11:09 remaining.
Denison drove down to the Bears' five-yard line on the ensuing drive, but a sack by Small on 2nd-and-goal forced a 29-yard field goal by Puracchio to make it 18-13. The Big Red would get the ball back and drive into WUSTL territory, but junior defensive lineman Jeff Stoecker stopped Sam Fiorini two inches short on fourth down to preserve the win.
Washington University opens up University Athletic Association (UAA) play at home on Saturday, Oct. 27, against Carnegie Mellon University. Kickoff is set for Noon at Francis Field. Prior to the contest, Washington U. will honor its 13 senior members who will play their final home game.
Bear Notebook: Washington University and Denison met for the first time since 1968 and for the third time in school history … The Bears played their 980th game in school history on Saturday … Washington U. has won the toss in six of seven games this season … The victory for Kindbom was the 173rd of his career, moving him two victories shy of eighth place on the NCAA Division III wins list for active coaches.