St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 20, 2014 – Senior quarterback Sam Van Doren threw for 247 yards and a touchdown in his first career start to lead the Washington University in St. Louis football team to a 24-19 win over North Park University Saturday afternoon at Francis Field in St. Louis.
Washington U. improves to 1-2 with the win, while North Park dropped to 0-3.
Washington U.'s defense allowed a season-low 304 yards of total offense, and limited the Vikings to 80 yards rushing on 39 carries. Senior linebacker Jonathan Paramore had 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack to lead the defensive unit, while senior defensive back Patrick Cantwell added 10 tackles. The duo leads the team with 28 tackles through the first three games.
"I'm a big believer in that sometimes scoreboards are imposters…you want to base it more on how well we did, how hard we played, and those kind of those things, but I'm happy we won obviously," said Washington U. head coach Larry Kindbom. "It was fun to see us go through a lot of changes during the course of the game and be able to continue to compete."
WUSTL won the toss and deferred to the second half, but went for the onside kick to start the game. Junior Alex Hallwachs' kick went just out of the hands of junior Jonathan Way, which resulted in great field position at the WUSTL 48-yard line for NPU. Nine plays later, T.D. Conway found Marquel Hawkins open on a 30-yard fade route to make it 7-0.
The Bears' offense answered right back with an eight-play, 75-yard drive behind the arm of Van Doren. He completed 4-of-4 passes for 65 yards during the drive, including a 31-yard connection with senior wide receiver Ryan Lubatkin on 3rd-and-7.
North Park regained the 13-7 lead with 5:13 left after Conway found Devin Childress across the middle for a 16-yard reception. The extra point by Noah Moore was wide right.
Washington U. scored 14 points in the final six minutes to take a 21-13 advantage at halftime. Smestad scored from two yards out with 5:13 left, and then Van Doren found sophomore wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund open for a 12-yard TD pass with 1:22 left before half. Van Doren finished the first half 14-of-21 for 137 yards and a TD, and threw to eight different targets.
Hallwachs booted a 36-yard field goal with 1:09 left in the third to push the advantage to 24-13, but North Park would not go away. A 14-yard pass from Conway to Dan Anderson with 11:26 to play cut the lead to 24-19, and the two-point conversion was no good.
Washington U. fumbled the ball on its play from scrimmage after sophomore wide receiver Hank Childs dropped the pitch from backup quarterback Alex Hodakowski on a reverse. North Park recovered and drove down to the WUSTL 25-yard line, but a sack by senior linebacker Fade Oluokun on fourth down halted the drive. Washington U.'s defense forced two turnovers on downs and a punt in the fourth quarter.
Smestad carried the ball 13 times for a career-high 60 yards and two TDs, while junior running back Cody Ratermann added a season-high 40 yards on seven carries. Hammarlund had a career-high nine catches for 72 yards and a TD.
Junior punter Alec Stanke punted six times for a season-high average of 42.3, including a season-long 61-yarder in the third quarter. Childs added four punt returns for 44 yards (11.0 average), while sophomore Dylan Newcomb had three kick returns for 57 yards (19.0 average).
Washington U. plays its second road game of the season at Centre College (2-0) on Saturday, Sept. 27. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. (ET) in Danville, Ky.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. and North Park have split the two meetings all-time … The Bears played their 998th game in school history … Kindbom won his 185th career game Saturday … Washington U. has scored 21 or more points in three-straight games … The Bears are 12-of-13 in the red zone this season … Hammarlund has 16 catches for 154 yards and a TD in the last two games … North Park held a 34:29-25:31 advantage in time of possession … The teams combined for 92 passes, which led to the longest game of the year at 3:06.