WINCHESTER, Va. – The 17th-ranked Washington and Lee football team finished off a perfect 10-0 regular season for the first time in school history with a 34-21 win over Shenandoah on Saturday afternoon at Shentel Stadium.
The Generals (7-0 ODAC), who had already clinched the ODAC title a week ago, struggled with turnovers, committing four on the day. W&L marched 72 yards on the opening drive of the game, but fumbled on the SU 3-yardline. The Generals' next drive ended on downs and the third possession resulted in another fumble while driving in Shenandoah (4-6, 1-6) territory.
The defense forced turnovers of its' own and held the Hornets scoreless while the offense finally strung together a scoring drive early in the second quarter. Sophomore running back Duncan Maxwell (Jackson, Miss. / Jackson Academy) finished off an 8-play, 71-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead at the 10:59 mark.
First-year defensive back Thomas Freeland (Franklin, Tenn. / Ensworth) intercepted SU first-year quarterback Hayden Bauserman at the W&L 5-yardline on the next series, though the Generals gave it back seven plays later as sophomore quarterback Matt Sgro (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum) was picked off by sophomore defensive back Cedrick Bridges on the SU 2-yardline. However, the Hornets surrendered the ball right back two plays later when sophomore defensive back Michael Shields (Charlotte, N.C. / Charlotte Country Day) intercepted Bauserman at the SU 8-yardline and returned it to the 1-yardline. Junior running back Marshall Hollerith (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher's) scored two plays later for a 14-0 lead at the 5:49 mark of the second quarter.
Neither team could find much traction in the third quarter until the Generals blocked a punt in Shenandoah territory midway through the period. First-year linebacker Joe Magoline (Akron, Ohio / Revere) produced the block and W&L took over on the SU 27-yardline. Hollerith scored his second 1-yard touchdown run of the day for a 21-0 lead with 2:37 left in the quarter.
W&L made it a 28-0 game with 12:17 left when Sgro found sophomore wide receiver Witt Hawkins (Memphis, Tenn. / Memphis University School) with a 28-yard touchdown pass.
Shenandoah then made things interesting, driving 87 yards on nine plays, resulting in a 39-yard touchdown pass from Bauserman to junior wide receiver Qlyl Middleton with 9:58 left. The Hornets then recovered an onside kick and scored 1:32 later on an 8-yard strike from Bauserman to sophomore wide-out Leonard Scott.
W&L fumbled on the first play of the next series and Bauserman tossed another touchdown pass, this time to senior tight end Garrett Rohrbaugh from 4 yards out to make it a 28-21 game with 7:20 left.
The Generals then produced a 12-play, 88-yard drive to salt away the clock. Maxwell scored his second touchdown of the game on a 26-yard run with 1:48 remaining for a 34-21 lead. The PAT was blocked, breaking a string of 73 consecutive PAT's made by junior placekicker Matt Underhill (Bethesda, Md. / Landon).
The Generals' defense held on downs and W&L ran out the clock for its first perfect regular season since the 1961 team went 9-0. In addition to the school-record 10 wins, the Blue & White tallied several more program firsts. The 2015 Generals set records for total offense (5,107), rushing yards (4,450), points (396), rushing touchdowns (52) and tied the mark for total touchdowns (55).
W&L finished with 483 total yards and 455 rushing yards in the contest. Hollerith notched 110 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while Maxwell finished with 101 yards and two scored on 10 carries. Sophomore running back Walker Brand (Roanoke, Va. / Hidden Valley) tallied 88 yards on 18 carries and junior running back Connor Chess (Fairfax, Va. / Flint Hill) produced 71 yards on 10 carries. Sgro rushed for 71 yards on nine carries and completed one pass for 28 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Sophomore linebacker Max Garrett (Fairfield, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall) led the defense with 10 tackles. Freeland finished with nine tackles and one interception.
Bauserman finished with 244 yards passing and three touchdowns with two interceptions to lead the Shenandoah offense. Junior running back Cedrick Delaney totaled 120 yards on 24 carries, while junior tight end Miles Green tallied 47 yards on five catches. Bridges led the defense with 16 tackles, a forced fumble and one interception.
Washington and Lee now waits to see if it will receive a home game in the NCAA Division III playoffs. The NCAA selection show will run on NCAA.com at 6:00 pm on Sunday evening.