Weekend Bear Sports

Washington University’s defense forced five turnovers en route to a 33-10 victory against LaGrange College on Saturday afternoon at Francis Field. Washington U. improves to 5-1 with the win, notching its best start since beginning the 1995 season at 6-1.

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Sophomore Tim Machan recorded his team-leading sixth interception of the year in the win, and also had an 81-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

“The defense really stepped it up when it counted,” said Machan. “We were putting the offense in good field position, and it really helped out in scoring 33 points.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Washington U. took advantage of LaGrange’s first turnover to get on the scoreboard. Senior Michael Elliott knocked the ball loose from LaGrange’s Mario Wallace, and Machan recovered the fumble and scampered 81 yards for the Bears’ first defensive score of the year.

A fumble by senior Charlie Machan set up Washington U.’s second score of the game. Junior Buck Smith connected with senior Michael Casper to move the Bears’ to the LaGrange five-yard line before sophomore Matt Glenn scored on the next play to push the lead to 14-0.

Freshman Brandon Brown’s 37-yard interception return set up a 10-yard TD run by freshman Jim O’Brien to push the lead to 21-0 with 7:20 left in the second quarter.

Washington U.’s defense allowed 175 yards of total offense in the first half, but shut down LaGrange on third downs, holding them 0-for-9. The Bears also forced four turnovers in the opening half.

Mario Wallace, who had 281 yards of total offense in the defeat, scampered 63 yards on LaGrange’s opening possession of the third quarter to cut the lead to 20-10.

Washington U. answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, as Smith connected with senior Joe Lubelski on a five-yard TD pass to make it 27-10 with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter. Glenn added a 13-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.

“Our guys stuck with the game plan and when the opportune moment came up, we took advantage of them,” said Washington University head coach Larry Kindbom. “We’re not a dominant force in any one area of the game. We’re a team that takes advantage of opportunities and today we were able to that really well.”

LaGrange had a 302-288 advantage in total offense, including 176 yards on the ground. The Bears defense, though, held the Panthers to 1-for-14 on third-down conversions.

Smith completed 15-of-21 passes for 107 yards passing and one touchdown improving to 5-1 in his first year as the starting quarterback. O’Brien ran for 51 yards on 11 carries, while Glenn added 43 yards on the ground.

Wallace finished the day with 136 yards rushing on 15 carries, becoming the first opponent to rush for more than 100 yards against the Bears since 2005. Starting quarterback Drew Carter was 19-of-33 for 126 yards passing and threw three interceptions.

Washington University returns to action at home on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Noon against the University of Chicago in its University Athletic Association (UAA) opener. Prior to the game, Washington U. will honor its 22 seniors who will be playing their final game at Francis Field.