St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 16, 2017 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team went toe-to-toe with six-time national champion University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for three quarters before falling 40-21 on Saturday at Francis Field in St. Louis.
Whitewater had its two-game losing streak snapped and improved to 1-2, while WashU dropped to 1-2.
"Our guys played hard, responded to adversity and made plays at the appropriate moments," said head coach Larry Kindbom. "Whitewater is a good football team, and when its all said and done they got the best of us."
Whitewater scored on its first three possessions of the fourth quarter to jump out in front 34-14. Warhawk QB Cole Wilber tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Dees to get the lead back for good at 20-14 with 14:02 to play.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Davidson was 27-of-42 for 217 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. Davidson also ran for 32 yards on 22 carries and was sacked nine times.
Whitewater had a 564-249 advantage in total offense and 35:06-24:54 in time of possession. Junior running back Ronny Ponick ran for a career-high 190 yards and a TD, while Wilber was 24-of-37 for 309 yards and three TDs.
Despite gaining just 11 yards in the opening quarter, if was the defense that kept WashU in the game. Senior defensive lineman Garris Goe halted the third drive of for the Warhawks with his first career interception at the WashU two-yard line.
UW-Whitewater drove down inside the 10 on it next possession, but junior defensive back Chandler Elmore picked off Wilber at the eight.
WashU responded with a 14-play, 92-yard drive to tie the contest with 9:37 left in the second quarter. Davidson connected with sophomore tight end Mitchell Groen for an 11-yard TD pass.
The Warhawks had a 282-86 advantage in total offense in the first half, and registered five sacks.
WashU's defense limited Whitewater to 54 yards in the third quarter, and forced three punts. On WashU's fourth possession, freshman running back Emmanuel Ebirim capped a 14-play, 69-yard drive with a one-yard TD to make it 14-13.
Junior wide receiver DeAndre Wilson hauled in a 25-yard pass from Davidson with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring for WashU. Wilson had a career-high eight catches for 97 yards.
WashU plays its first road game of the 2017 season on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Wartburg College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Waverly, Iowa.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: Whitewater has won three all-time meetings between the two teams … The Bears have an 18-5 record at home the past five seasons … The nine sacks by Whitewater set a school record … A school-record 1,600 viewers tuned into the broadcast on the Bear Sports Network.