Showing no ill effects from a two-week break in competition, the North Central College football team put a damper on the festivities at Washington University in St. Louis Saturday evening, closing the contest with 33 unanswered points and routing the No. 24-ranked Bears, 46-13.
On a night when Washington (1-1, 0-1 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) celebrated the renaming of its stadium to Francis Olympic Field, the No. 5-ranked Cardinals took a capacity crowd out of the game early and posted a victory over the Bears for the third straight year.
North Central did some editing to its record book in the win, as Broc Rutter became the program's all-time leader in career passing yards (10,441) and completed passes (768). Wide receiver Andrew Kamienski, meanwhile, established a new single-game school record with 15 receptions.
The Cardinals (2-0, 1-0 CCIW) took possession on the game's opening drive and traveled 75 yards in six plays, opening the scoring with Rutter's 10-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Hill. After forcing a punt, the visitors boosted their lead to 13-0 after Rutter capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive with a three-yard scoring pass to DeAngelo Hardy.
Washington got on the board on the ensuing drive, as quarterback Johnny Davidson ran or passed on 10 plays in a 12-play possession and scored on a one-yard run to narrow the gap to 13-7. The Cardinals lined up to attempt a field goal near the end of the first period, but the Bears' Andrew Whitaker blocked the kick and Anthony Brown returned the ball 71 yards to the end zone to level the score at 13-13 at the end of the opening frame.
The Cardinals responded quickly, as Rutter connected with Hardy once again for an 11-yard TD pass on the first possession of the second quarter, and a 10-yard scoring strike to Kamienski sent North Central into halftime with a 27-13 advantage. The Bears took possession to start the second half, but Davidson's punt was blocked and bounced out of the end zone for a safety. Six plays later, the Cardinals were in the end zone again, as Hill ran in from nine yards out.
Milan Dezelich converted a 27-yard field goal attempt late in the third period to extend the lead to 39-13, and Rutter completed the scoring by hitting Kamienski for a six-yard score with 8:55 to play.
The Cardinals finished the game with 640 yards of total offense, the sixth-highest single-game output in the program's history. Rutter completed 34 of 45 passes for 398 yards and tied a career high with five TD passes, as Kamienski totaled a career-high 181 receiving yards and Blake Williams put up a second straight career-best outing with eight catches for 138 yards. Ethan Greenfield gained a team-high 118 rushing yards on 13 carries and Hill was close behind with 116 yards on 14 attempts.
Ben Wong totaled a team-high nine tackles, while Talha Ayhan made three tackles for loss, including two quarterback sacks. Braden Lindmark intercepted his first pass of the season and De'Angelo Roberson broke up three others.
The Cardinals play their first home game of the season on Saturday, hosting North Park University (0-2, 0-1) on Homecoming weekend. Kickoff at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium is set for 2:00 p.m.