Washington and Lee Football - NCAA Game Notes

Washington and Lee Football - NCAA Game Notes

W&L (8-2) at THOMAS MORE (10-0)

Saturday, November 20, 2010
Crestview Hills, Ky. • 12:00 pm

PDF Version of Notes

DATE: November 20, 2010
TIME: 12:00 pm
STADIUM: Bank of Kentucky Field (2,500)
TV/INTERNET: Thomas More Live (http://www.livesportsvideo.com/golive/goliveevents.asp?q=ThomasMoreCollege&group=LIVE%20Video%20Webcast)

Washington and Lee and Thomas More will be meeting on the gridiron for the first-time ever.  In fact, W&L has played just one of the nine schools currently competing in the Presidents' Athletic Conference.  The Generals are 0-3 all-time against Washington & Jefferson but has not met the Presidents since 1923.

Frank Miriello (East Stroudsburg '67) is in his 16th season as the head coach at W&L and his 43rd year of coaching.  He has led W&L to 11 non-losing campaigns, a pair of ODAC titles and this will be his second appearance in the NCAA Tournament.  Miriello is the winningest coach in program history, having surpassed Gary Fallon for that honor earlier this season.  Since taking over following Fallon's death in the spring of 1995, Miriello is 83-75-1 (.525) overall.

Thomas More is led by fourth-year Head Coach Jim Hilvert (St. Joseph's [Ind.]), who is 33-10 as a head coach at TMC.  He has lead the Saints to three-straight Presidents' Athletic Conference titles and three-straight trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament.  Hilvert has served as an assistant coach at Mount Saint Joseph and Western Michigan.

Washington and Lee has played 1,012 games in the entire history of the program, compiling a 470-503-39 (.484) overall record.  Only five other schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia have played more games than W&L, which played the first intercollegiate football game in the South, an 1873 matchup with neighboring VMI.

(W&L 45, Juniata 3 • 11/13/10 • Huntingdon, Pa.)
Washington and Lee recorded its first 8-win season since 1981 with a 45-3 victory over Juniata College on Saturday afternoon in Huntingdon, Pa. The Generals amassed 482 yards of total offense (378 rushing) and intercepted five Eagle passes in winning their seventh-straight game. W&L opened a 14-0 lead just 4:55 into the game following 3-yard touchdown runs by junior running back Harrison Hudson and sophomore running back Luke Heinsohn.  Heinsohn jump-started the Generals' offense with a 63-yard run on W&L's first offensive play of the game.  A 7-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Charlie Westfal gave the Generals a 21-0 lead and the Eagles capped the first-half scoring on a 29-yard field goal by sophomore Scott Andrews with 1:20 left in the half. Westfal hooked up with Hudson on a 79-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-3 with 6:19 left in the third quarter and another Westfal touchdown pass, this time a 10-yarder to junior wide receiver Tate Davis, made it 35-3 with 3:16 left in the third period.  A 35-yard field goal by junior placekicker Peter Alston and a 15-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Sasha Vandalov ended the scoring. W&L was led by Heinsohn, who rushed 15 times for 145 yards and one touchdown.  Sophomore running back Brett Murray carried 12 times for 77 yards, while Hudson amassed 20 yards and one touchdown rushing, along with his one catch for 79 yards.  Vandalov rushed six times for 46 yards and one score and Westfal rushed for 28 yards and one touchdown and completed 4-of-9 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.  Sophomore linebacker Zach Zoller had a team-best seven tackles, while junior defensive back John Kavanagh had two tackles and two interceptions. Juniata totaled just 160 yards of total offense led by first-year running back Zach McCaulley, who rushed 10 times for 41 yards.  First-year linebacker Chris Beall notched a team-high 10 tackles. 

(Wilkes 42, W&L 0 • 11/18/06 • Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
Wilkes University jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and cruised to a 42-0 victory over Washington and Lee in the first round of the Division III football playoffs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The Colonels scored on the third play of the game as safety Bryan Vivaldo intercepted a pass by W&L quarterback R.J. Varner and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 1:40 into the game. A W&L fumble on its next possession gave Wilkes another short field as running back Jason Nabba capped off a 7-play, 30-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead just 5:42 into the first quarter. Tight end Matt Pizarro hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Al Karaffa with 3:00 left in the opening period for a 21-0 lead and running back Tom Andreopoulos gave the Colonels a 28-0 halftime lead with an 82-yard touchdown run with 11:21 left in the first half. Andreopoulos led the Wilkes offense with 169 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries, while Karaffa completed 8-of-14 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Linebacker Kyle Follweiler led the defense with eight tackles. W&L was limited to just 141 yards of total offense, led by  running back Stuart Sitterson, who tallied 10 catches for 82 yards and rushed six times for 12 yards. Varner completed 22-of-32 passes for 151 yards and one interception, while wide receiver Colton Ward caught nine passes for 13 yards. Ward finished his career with a school-record 161 receptions, eclipsing the former record of 155 held by J.T. Malatesta '99. Safety Kyle Luby paced the W&L defense with nine tackles. Cornerback Jimmy Gift added six tackles and a pair of sacks.

Thomas More finished its regular season with a perfect 10-0 record following a 33-0 win over rival Mount St. Joseph on Saturday.  The Saints limited MSJ to just 127 yards of total offense and rolled up 451 yards themselves in the win.  First-year running back Domonique Hayden totaled 157 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries, while sophomore quarterback Robert Kues completed 17-of-30 passes for 195 yards and a pair of scores.  Kues' favorite target was junior running back Kendall Owens, who notched four catches for 77 yards.  Junior defensive end Justin Smith paced the defense with seven tackles and a sack.  For the year, TMC's offense averages 383.9 yards and 35.0 points per game led by Hayden, who has rushed for 994 yards and 15 touchdowns on 175 carries.  Kues has rushed for 449 yards and six touchdowns and has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,664 yards and 14 touchdowns (6 INT's).  Owens has a team-high 32 catches for 470 yards and a pair of scores, while junior wide-out Mercier Doucette has 15 grabs for 278 yards and five touchdowns.  The defense has been stout, allowing just 247.4 yards and 10.8 points per game.  They also allow an average of just 68.1 rushing yards per game.  Sophomore linebacker Nick Gramke is the leading tackler with 64 stops, while junior defensive tackle Tyler Owens has 55 tackles, including 21.5 tackles for a loss, and 8.5 sacks.  Junior defensive end Jay Volker has 40 tackles and a team-best 9.0 sacks, and sophomore safety Zach Autenreib claims 30 tackles, 17 pass breakups and a team-high eight interceptions.

On the heels of their seven-game winning streak that includes a pair of wins over ranked opponents (#20 Randolph-Macon and #17/19 Hampden-Sydney), the Generals have been receiving some love in the Division III polls.  In the latest American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III poll, Washington and Lee has picked up 13 points to appear among the "others receving votes" section of the poll.  The Generals also have six points and appear in the receiving votes section of the D3Football.com poll.  Prior to receiving votes in the coaches poll before the Hampden-Sydney game, W&L had not received any votes since the 2006 season.  Thomas More is currently ranked ninth in the AFCA poll and 10th in the D3Football.com poll.

W&L has currently won seven-straight games, its longest winning streak since a string of seven-straight wins over the 1981 and 1982 seasons. The longest winning streak in program history was 15 games from 1960-62, followed by 14 wins from 1914-15 and 1912-13.  There was also a nine-game streak from 1962-63 and two seven-game streaks.

A win against Thomas More would tie the school record for wins in a season with nine.  The 1961 and 1914 teams both went 9-0 overall.  Including the 2010 season, W&L has had just 10 seasons of eight or more wins in program history.

The Generals clinched their eighth conference title in program history (118 seasons) during the 2010 season.  It was also just the fourth ODAC title since the formation of the league in 1976.  However, it was W&L's second conference title in the last five seasons. Below is a listing of the Generals' conference championships over the years:

Washington and Lee All-Time Conference Championships
1914 - South Atlantic Champions
1934 - Southern Conference Champions
1950 - Southern Conference Champions
1962 - College Athletic Conference Champions
1981 - Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions
1985 - Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions
2006 - Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions
2010 - Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions

Washington and Lee has qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second time in program history.  The Generals' only other appearance in the Big Dance was during the 2006 season when W&L finished 7-4 following a 42-0 loss to Wilkes in the opening round.  Prior to 2006, the Generals' last postseason appearance was the 1951 Gator Bowl.

W&L has recorded six games of 40+ points this season, the first time in program history that the Generals have had more than three games of 40 or more points.  W&L has already set a school record for points scored in a season this fall, totaling 374 points across the 10 games thus far (37.4 points per game).  The Generals rank 24th in Division III in scoring offense.

The W&L offense has been rolling along this season with averages of 450.4 yards (23rd nationally) and 37.4 points per game. The Generals rank fourth in Division III with an average of 370.2 rushing yards per game.  A major reason for this success has been the play of W&L's offensive line, which consists of senior center Greg Kurkis, junior right guard John Fitzgibbons, sophomore left guard Mike Stefanelli, first-year left tackle Connor Hollenbeck and first-year right tackle Bobby Jones.  Junior Matt Benson also rotates through as essentially a sixth starting offensive lineman.  The group was recognized as the ODAC Offensive Player of the Week and was named to the D3Football.com Team of the Week following the Catholic game on Oct. 29 as the Generals posted an ODAC-record 496 rushing yards. As a group, the line averages 6-3 and 261 pounds across the front.  Kurkis will be making his 40th-consecutive start up front this week, while Fitzgibbons will be starting for the 31st-straight game.

Five members of the W&L football team were named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team that was announced earlier this month.  Senior offensive lineman Greg Kurkis (biochemistry), senior cornerback David Sternlicht (economics) and junior running back Harrison Hudson (business administration & computer science) were all repeat selections.  They were joined by junior linebacker Taylor Malone (business administration) and sophomore running back Brett Murray (undeclared).  Kurkis received Second Team Academic All-America laurels following the 2009 season and is a postgraduate scholarship nominee.

Sophomore running back Luke Heinsohn has already added his stamp to his family's tradition at W&L.  Heinsohn is the grandson of former W&L Head Coach Lee McLaughlin and is the brother of former W&L soccer and lacrosse standout Angie Carrington.  Both are enshrined in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.  His uncle James '86 also hold the school's discus record (150'10.5"). Heinsohn has begun etching his legacy by becoming just the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.  Heinsohn has rushed 179 times for 1,243 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.  He is the ODAC's leading rusher with an average of 124.3 yards per game, a total which ranks 14th in Division III.  Heinsohn can set a new school record for season rushing yards with 83 more yards.  Marc Watson set the record of 1,325 yards during the 2000 season.  Heinsohn has rushed for 100 or more yards seven times this year, including a season-best 223 yards (4th-best in W&L history) against Guilford back on October 2.

The moniker Triple H did wonders for the professional wrestling career of Paul Michael Levesque and perhaps Double H could do the same for the college football career of W&L junior running back Harrison Hudson.  Hudson has three games of 100 or more rushing yards this season and he enters this week's contest second on the team in rushing with 768 yards and eight touchdowns on 95 carries.  He also has a team-high 15 catches for 328 yards and five more scores.  Hudson is averaging a gaudy 8.1 yards per carry this season and he has averaged 8.7 yards every time he has touched the ball on offense for his career.  The W&L record for season average per carry is 7.1 yards and the career record is 5.8 yards (Hudson is currently at 7.5 ypc).  He has rushed 152 times for 1,144 yards over his first three seasons and has also snared 40 passes for 524 yards.  Hudson had W&L's longest play from scrimmage in nearly four years when he caught a pass and scampered 79 yards for a touchdown last week in a 45-3 win over Juniata.  He leads the team with 13 touchdowns, which ranks as the sixth-best season touchdown total by a W&L player.

Sophomore running back Brett Murray, a native of Lookout Mountain, Tenn., completes the Generals' three-headed monster from the running back position.  Murray has carried the ball 96 times for 710 yards and nine touchdowns. He also is the team's second-leading receiver with 12 catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns and he is second on the team with 12 total touchdowns.  Murray is averaging 7.4 yards per carry this season, a total which ranks second on the team this year and would eclipse the school season record of 7.1 yards per carry.  Murray is also dangerous in the return game, averaging a team-high 23.4 yards per kickoff return and he has one punt return for 10 yards.  His 124.7 all-purpose yards per game are tops on the team.

The Washington and Lee running game has been consistent, but also explosive.  The Generals have ripped off runs of 20 or more yards 30 times this year.  Sophomore Luke Heinsohn leads the way with 10 runs of 20 yards or more, followed by sophomore Brett Murray (9), junior Harrison Hudson (6), junior Charlie Westfal (3), sophomore Russell Stewart (1) and first-year Tate Bloomer (1).  Heinsohn has the longest run of the season, a 63-yarder in last week's win at Juniata.

Junior quarterback Charlie Westfal ranks fourth on the school's career total offense list with 4,594 yards and is the school's all-time leading rusher from the quarterback position with 1,438 career rushing yards (12th-best overall). For his career, Westfal has rushed for 16 touchdowns and has completed 53 percent (259-489, .530) of his passes for 3,156 yards and 30 touchdowns.  He is currently fifth all-time at W&L in career touchdown passes and is ninth in career passing yards.  Since beginning the season completing just 17 of his first 36 passes (.472) for one touchdown and two interceptions over the first three games, Westfal has completed 27-of-48 (.563) of his passes for 504 yards and 10 touchdowns with no interceptions over his next seven games.

The Generals have allowed an average of 333.3 yards per game on the season, but they feature an opportunistic defense that has forced 32 turnovers in 10 games (3.2 per game).  W&L ranks No. 1 in the ODAC and is tied for fourth nationally with 22 interceptions.

Washington and Lee ranks No. 1 in the ODAC and is tied for third nationally with a +19 turnover margin for the season.  The Generals are +10 in turnover margin over the past two weeks, having forced five turnovers each in wins over Hampden-Sydney and Juniata.  On offense, W&L has committed just 13 turnovers (1.3 per game) this season and the Generals have not turned the ball over since the second team offense fumbled during the fourth quarter of a 49-14 win over Catholic on Oct. 29.

Under Frank Miriello, W&L has been known as a fundamental team, taking care of the ball and avoiding penalties.  The 2010 season has been no different.  The Generals have committed just 13 turnovers (1.3 per game) and they are tied for No. 1 in Division III with an average of just 3.3 penalties per game (33 penalties for 341 yards).

Another secret to the Generals' success this season has been their conversion rates on offense.  W&L converts on 50 percent of its third down attempts (56-of-111) and 75 percent of its fourth down attempts (12-of-16).  The Generals rank 12th nationally in third down percentage and are tied for second in fourth down percentage.

The Generals are quite literally on a historic run this season.  W&L has already shattered the school (2,995) and ODAC (2,740) record for season rushing yards with 3,702 yards. The Generals have also set a new conference record for rushing touchdowns (41) in a season. Along the way, W&L has rushed for more than 400 yards in a game six times, including a stretch of five in a row that ended two weeks ago.  To put this into perspective, there were only five 400-yard rushing performances in the history of the league prior to W&L's six this season.  Below is a listing of the top team rushing efforts in ODAC history:

1. Washington and Lee vs. Catholic, 2010    496
2. Emory & Henry vs. Greensboro, 1998    483
3. Washington and Lee vs. Sewanee, 2010    467
4. Washington and Lee vs. Guilford, 2010    463
5. Bridgewater vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 1987    444
6. Bridgewater vs. Lebanon Valley, 1990    441
7. Washington and Lee vs. Bridgewater, 2010    438
8. Washington and Lee vs. Randolph-Macon, 2010    427
9. Washington and Lee vs. Emory & Henry, 2010    425
10. Bridgewater vs. Methodist, 1989    410

W&L has set a new school record for season PAT's (50), while junior placekicker Peter Alston has set a new mark for individual PAT's made (48).  Alston is currently on a streak of 42 consecutive PAT's made, which set a new school record.  The previous mark of 39 in a row had stood since 1997.  Alston's 60 points this season are the second-most ever by a W&L kicker.  Former All-American Brad Wiginton notched 62 points during the 2001 campaign.  Alston did not score a point over his first two seasons, missing a 34-yard field goal against Southern Virginia in 2008, his only scoring opportunity.

W&L starts just two seniors on offense (OL Greg Kurkis & TE Patrick Conley) and three on defense (DL Colin Campbell, LB Pete Watson, CB David Sternlicht).  Three sophomore and two first-years start on O, while four sophomores and one first-year start on D.

It would be easy for the defensive side of the football to be a bit defensive about the lack of coverage this season, given the success of the W&L offense.  Aside from creating turnovers, the defense has continued to improve as the season has progressed -- a good sign given the Generals' youth on the defensive side of the football.  W&L's top eight tacklers will all be back for another go around in 2011, with the top two tackles being sophomores.  Sophomore linebacker Jesse Jenkins leads the team with 77 tackles, while sophomore safety Jake Pelton has 70 tackles and an ODAC-best six interceptions.  He has also been named the ODAC Defensive Player of the Week on three separate occasions.  Junior linebacker Rob Look, the Generals' only returning all-conference player (second team in 2009), is third with 50 tackles in nine contests, while sophomore linebacker Doug Fraser also has 50 stops.  Junior cornerback Mike Hartford and junior safety John Kavanagh are tied for second on the team with four interceptions apiece.

Aside from hosting the Stagg Bowl in Salem every December, the ODAC does have a significant history in the NCAA Division III Tournament.  Since first receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs in 1999, the ODAC claims a 10-12 record in the NCAA Football Tournament. No ODAC team has ever claimed the championship, however, Bridgewater College did advance to the Stagg Bowl in 2001 where it fell to Mount Union by a score of 30-27.