Football Edges Chicago in 2018 Season Opener

Photo by Danny Reise/WUSTL Photos
Photo by Danny Reise/WUSTL Photos

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 1, 2018 – The Washington University in St. Louis football team maintained possession of the Founders Cup with a 24-17 victory over the University of Chicago in front of 2,903 fans Saturday at Francis Field in St. Louis.

The Founders Cup, which commemorates the first football game played between two University Athletic Association (UAA) schools, was introduced in 1987.

"I was pleased with how our guys played. Defensively we played a stellar game," said head coach Larry Kindbom. "We just kept banging away and I am pretty excited about how we finished the game."

WashU limited Chicago to 233 yards of total offense, including one yard rushing on 26 carries. Junior defensive back Jeff Marek made five tackles and had a pair of interceptions.

Junior running back John Fisher was a bright spot on offense picking up 179 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. Fisher went over the 100-yard plateau for the first time in his career with 119 yards on 19 carries. 

Junior quarterback Johnny Davidson was 21-of-36 for 196 yards and two TDs as WashU totaled 376 yards of total offense, and turned the ball over just one time on special teams.

Fisher scored on a 60-yard run with 3:42 left in the first quarter to give the Bears the 7-0 lead. WashU limited Chicago to 47 yards on 20 plays in the opening quarter.

Chicago scored midway through the second, but WashU answered back with less than a minute to play after Fisher took a pass from Davidson and scampered 24 yards for the TD.

The Bears limited Chicago to 102 yards of total offense on 30 plays in the first half, including -5 yards rushing. Fisher ran the ball nine times for 75 yards and added 33 yards receiving. WashU had 195 yards of total offense.

WashU's defense stepped up again on the first drive in the third quarter after junior linebacker Jeff Gurley sacked Chicago QB George Krantz. Sophomore Joe Rogan pushed the advantage to 17-7 with a 32-yard field goal with 5:21 left in the third.

Fisher hauled in an 11-yard TD pass from Davidson with 7:12 to play to push the advantage to 24-10.

Senior linebacker Jake Coon had a team-high nine tackles, while junior linebacker Jarrod Huther made six tackles and added 1.5 tackles for loss and sack. Sophomore defensive lineman Peter Pigatti added six tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

WashU (1-0) has a bye week before returning to action on Saturday, Sept. 15, at No. 7-ranked North Central College. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU and Chicago met for the 37th time in school history, with the Bears holding a 25-12 edge… Marek's interceptions were the first of his career … The Bears have a 21-6 record at home the past six seasons … The teams combined for 20 penalties … WashU is 21-9 in season openers under Kindbom.