LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee jumped out to a 14-0 lead and preserved a seven-point advantage with a pair of late interceptions to post a 28-21 win over Washington University of St. Louis in football on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Field.
W&L (3-2) amassed 162 rushing yards in the first quarter, scoring just 1:37 into the game when sophomore running back Jimmie Johnson (Hoover, Ala. / Hoover) took an option pitch and scampered 46 yards down the sideline for a 7-0 advantage at the 13:23 mark.
The Generals' defense held on the next series and the Bears (1-5) attempted a fake punt that was unsuccessful, giving W&L the ball on the Wash U 41-yardline. Senior quarterback Matt Sgro (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum) capped a 7-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead with 8:16 left in the opening quarter.
The Bears got on the board with a 43-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Johnny Davidson to junior wide receiver Jason Singer at 1:22 of the first quarter. Both defenses stepped up at that point and neither team could break through again until Sgro finished off a 17-play, 85-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run at the 3:15 mark of the second quarter for a 21-7 lead.
Wash U made it a one-score game (21-14) just before the half when Davidson found Singer with a 17-yard scoring strike on a 3rd-and-goal play with 36 seconds remaining.
Neither team could dent the scoreboard in the third quarter, as W&L failed on a fourth down play from the Wash U 24-yardline and the Bears missed a 42-yard field goal. Wash U missed a 49-yard field goal on its next series and W&L opened a 28-14 lead with a 41-yard touchdown run from Sgro with 7:31 left to play, his third touchdown of the game.
The Bears struck quickly to pull back within one score (28-21); however, as Davidson and Singer hooked up for a 53-yard catch and run for a touchdown with 6:35 remaining in the game. W&L was stopped on the next series and punted to Wash U, which took over on its own 17-yardline with 3:08 left. The Generals produced a sack by junior defensive lineman Reed Clark (Westerville, Ohio / Columbus Academy) and sophomore defensive end Oak Mize (Henrico, Va. / Douglas Freeman) on first down, and then senior safety Michael Shields (Charlotte, N.C. / Charlotte Country Day) intercepted Davidson at the Wash U 45-yardline on the next play. The Bears' defense forced a 3-and-out by the Generals on the ensuing series and took over on their own 29-yardline with 1:38 left. Wash U drove to the W&L 48-yardline, before a strip back by junior defensive lineman Alex Cantrell (Charlotte, N.C. / Providence Day) pushed the Red and Green back to the Wash U 47-yardline. On the next play, Shields recorded a second interception of Davidson at the W&L 24-yardline with nine seconds left to seal the victory.
For the game, W&L amassed 469 offensive yards and 433 yards on the ground. On defense, the Generals produced five sacks.
Sgro led the offense with 146 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 22 carries. He also completed 4-of-6 passes for 36 yards. First-year running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries and Johnson totaled 66 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. On defense, senior linebacker David Hogan (Matthews, N.C. / Charlotte Christian) recorded 11 tackles, all solo, and Clark finished with five tackles and two sacks.
Wash U had 432 yards of total offense paced by Davidson, who completed 33-of-45 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Singer caught seven passes for 130 yards and all three touchdowns, while senior wide-out Marcus Ramspott caught nine passes for 76 yards. Senior defensive back Nick Doctors recorded a game-high 12 tackles.
Washington and Lee returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Guilford for a 1:00 pm contest.